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NYU Defends Expansion Plan Amid Protest By Greenwich Village Residents

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York University is defending its 20-year expansion plan as demonstrators rally in Greenwich Village Saturday in protest.

The plan calls for more than 3 million-square feet of space to be built into two super blocks.

EXTRA: See The Full Plan From NYU

NYU issued the following statement to 1010 WINS about the plan.

"Strong universities are essential to the future of New York City, and growth is important to our academic excellence. NYU 2031: NYU in NYC, our academic space planning effort, seeks to balance NYU's academic needs with the concerns of our neighboring community.  Fully half of our growth over the next 20 years will be outside Greenwich Village.  And NYU's growth strategy near our existing Washington Square campus involves creating new academic facilities on its existing, NYU-owned footprint, with nearly half below-grade.  In addition to supporting NYU's academic mission, this proposal will create thousands of jobs and increased economic opportunity for many New Yorkers and provide new open space for the community," spokesman John Beckman said.

"As NYU continues to move through the City's mandated public review process, we look forward to continuing our discussions with all stakeholders involved," he added.

SEE: Proposed Site Plan (PDF)

While dozens of protesters dressed in costumes took to the streets near Judson Memorial Church to voice their opposition to relocating a dog run, demonstrators say the issue for the neighborhood goes well beyond that.

"They're going to build so many buildings and it will be virtually a construction zone for 20 years," said one area resident.

"It will just be one massive building from Bleecker to Houston," said another resident.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports


Assemblywoman Deborah Glick said the expansion could ruin the neighborhood.

"A super campus in the middle of the existing location is perhaps not viable," she said. "From a sustainability point of view, you're taking out a lot of air and light, you're removing a lot of open space, just the sort of thing the university shouldn't be doing."But not everyone thinks the plan is bad idea. One area store owner said the expansion will bring more students and more business to the neighborhood.

What do you think of the plan? Sound off in our comments section below...

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