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When Barnard built its Cathedral Gardens dorms in 2005, it created two storefronts on 109th and 110th Streets to be used for community space. Since then though, the over 5,000 square foot property on 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue has sat vacant, its windows papered over. But that may change as Barnard moves forward with negotiations to move a local organization's college preparatory program to its site. Goddard Riverside Community Center, an organization that provides education, shelter, and food to residents of the Upper West Side and West Harlem, is planning to move its OPTIONS program to the space in Barnard. The program—currently located at 88th Street and Columbus Avenue—provides students from low and middle-income backgrounds free SAT and admissions counseling. In need of more space and counselors, OPTIONS' move would help give them more resources and bring new students into the program, director Jane Heaphy said. "The new site will put us closer to Harlem high schools and neighborhoods where there is tremendous need," she said. Teaming with Goddard Riverside comes at an opportune time for Barnard, said Vivian Taylor, Barnard's vice president for community development. Due to rising costs, Barnard this year terminated its Liberty Partnerships Program, a state-funded tutoring program for neighborhood students. "I look at ways that we can help young people succeed through educational avenues. This is another program to serve young people," Taylor said. Goddard Riverside will pay rent to Barnard based on the operating and maintenance costs of the space, said Greg Brown, Barnard's chief operating officer. "OPTIONS has a terrific track record in direct college preparatory work with neighborhood high school students as well as serving as a training ground for mentors and counselors across the country," Brown wrote in an email, adding that he hopes the program will utilize Barnard volunteers. Some neighboring businesses said they also support Goddard filling the vacancy. "It's a noble cause," said Norma Darton, owner of Spoonbread Catering, a business and restaurant two doors down from the empty space on 110th Street. "I don't know if kids applying to college will come get a meal, but it's a good cause." Because the space was already zoned for community purposes, Goddard Riverside and Barnard did not need Community Board 7's approval on the measure. Still, CB7 voted in favor of a resolution supporting the move, at its monthly meeting Tuesday night. Peter Arndsten, district manager of the Columbus Amsterdam Business Improvement District, said that this is a fitting use for the space. "This will serve the youth of the neighborhood, give them guidance, and help them see beyond the neighborhood." Arndsten also said he thinks this project could boost local business. "Anytime you have an empty space filled with people who've never been here before it's a good thing." Mark Diller, CC '80 and chair of CB7's Youth, Education and Libraries Committee, said he hopes Goddard Riverside can use CB7's vote to show funders that neighborhood residents support the move. "This program is bursting at the seams in its current space," Diller said.

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