Conservancy North is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that the public spaces of Northern Manhattan are guided by the needs and aspirations of the community, and planned comprehensively to improve quality of place.
Conservancy North got its start when a group of local residents organized around a waterfront development zoning variance that many felt gave short shrift to the public space needs of the community. Though we are surrounded by water and park land, the segment of the community that reaps the benefits of these public space treasures in terms of health, eduction, and overall well‐being is disproportionately small, especially in the minority and lower‐income segments of the community. Many of our public schools don’t have gymnasiums, and our neighborhood has historically been the dumping ground for sanitation facilities, rail yards, power stations and other land uses that detract from overall quality of life. Today we focus our efforts on shifting this imbalance through our inclusive Four Coves Biodiversity Project walks and other activities. By directing our outreach efforts to all segments of the community, we believe that we can develop a community‐based stewardship effort that benefits our not only natural resources, but current and future generations of area residents as well.
Conservancy North is the organization working closely with Councilman Jackson's Office and other elected officials to develop and administer a community benefits agreement with Columbia University. In 2010 the organization got its start as a group of Inwood community advocates rallying around a land use issue. By 2011 the organization incorporated. New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) helped with outreach, broadening participation and organizational scope. During this time the group gathered 500 + signatures in support of its efforts.
The founding board voted in talented members of the community with extensive history working with the Parks Department, conservancies, the Community Board, educational institutions, city government, and grassroots campaigns, in diverse areas including recreation, education, environmental justice, etc. The current board reflects the diversity of the local community and possesses the critical executive and strategic skills to build positive partnerships, turn limited resources into tangible public benefits, and grow a highly capable conservancy.
Together with Councilman Jackson's office the group has garnered broad support from Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, State Assemblyman Herman Farrell, State Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Board 12, and the Department of Parks and Recreation.