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Yale to pay $3 million for High and Wall Streets

Four blocks of city streets in the heart of New Haven—and the heart of Yale's campus—will be sold to the university for $3 million. The deal between Yale and the city government has yet to be officially approved by the city's Board of Aldermen, but the same group meeting as a "committee of the whole" voted 17–7 to approve the deal last night, the New Haven Independent reports.

The proposal—without the dollar figure attached—was announced two weeks ago as a way to resolve the status of Wall Street between College and York and High Street between Elm and Grove. Yale gained control of the streets in 1990 in a 20-year deal with the city that involved a one-time payment of $1.1 million plus annual payments by Yale to support city services. The university turned the block of High Street in front of Sterling Memorial Library into a landscaped pedestrian walkway. The other streets are mostly unchanged except for new parking restrictions and "do not enter" signs.

But the agreement did not spell out clearly what was to happen after the 20 years were up, and some alders wanted to charge Yale to renew the deal. The sale of the streets would resolve the issue permanently, a fact that made some alders leery of a plan that would cede the streets "for eternity," as alder Justin Elicker ’10MBA, ’10MEM, put it. (Elicker, one of four alums running for mayor, voted no.)

Alder Dolores Colon, who works at the Beinecke Library, argued for the sale. “How much are we really going to miss these streets?” said Colon. “The streets are priceless and worthless at the same time.”

Yale has acquired city streets before in its nearly 300 years in New Haven. Library Street, which ran between Jonathan Edwards and Branford Colleges, was closed in the 1920s in a deal with Yale that helped the city build Tower Parkway. In 2006, to assemble a parcel on which to build two new residential colleges (as yet unbuilt), the university acquired three streets off of Prospect Street in exchange for $10 million in infrastructure improvements in the area.

Filed under High Street, Wall Street
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