The High Line Has a Way With Money, Scores $5 M. While Neighbors Go Wanting

image640x480 The High Line Has a Way With Money, Scores $5 M. While Neighbors Go Wanting

Who needs a proper playground when you have this? (FotHL)

One of the chief complaints against the Chelsea Market expansion explored in this week’s Observer is that the project held no benefits for the community, only the High Line, which was receiving $19 million toward a long-term improvement fund.

It is only the latest sign of the park’s pull in the neighborhood and in the city, but here is another: DNAinfo dug into the city budget and found that the High Line is getting $5 million toward the creation of its third section. That is many times what neighboring amenities are getting, such as Hudson River Park, which is in much more dire shape.

[T]he nearby Hudson River Park, which has projected an $80 million deficit over the next 10 years and desperately needs some $100 million to rehabilitate a crumbling Pier 40, is only set to get $618,000 for capital projects from those appropriations, according to City Council budget documents.

The High Line has been derided as a folly for tourists, and one local advocate is complaining that only a sliver of the money going to the elevated park would help his cause to build the first playground in the neighborhood in decades.

Matt Weiss, who’s spent years leading the charge to build a park on a 10,000 square foot Department of Sanitation lot at 136 W. 20th St. said that the High Line is a treasure for the city, but questioned the $5 million allocation — particularly because he said the elevated park is not a children’s playground and was hard to access for families living on the eastern portions of the neighborhood.

“In reality, less than half of that amount could bring the first new playground to Chelsea in 44 years,” Weiss said. “It … makes you ask where our elected officials’ priorties are.”

To be fair, the High Line does have plans for those rubberized I-beams as part of its third phase, so what’s the big deal? Don’t they look like fun? All the High Line needs to do is add a slide down to the street and it will be all set.