A picture of the proposed site of the LowLine -- the abandoned trolley station adjacent to the Delancey/Essex Street subway stop. Picture: Anneke Rautenbach

A picture of the proposed site of the LowLine — the abandoned trolley station adjacent to the Delancey/Essex Street subway stop.

We heard quite a few gripes over the city’s steps to “activate” the abandoned trolley terminal under Delancey Street at Wednesday’s Community Board 3 meeting, and it seems the city heard them loud and clear…ish.

Board members worried that the subterranean site was on its way to being given to the Lowline project with a Christmas bow on it, and asked that a new Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the space be put on hold and restarted with community board input on guidelines and criteria.

Today Anthony Hogrebe, Economic Development Corporation’s senior vice president for public affairs, told us the agency will extend its original Dec. 23 deadline for expressions of interest for at least another month, “to ensure any interested parties have a chance to respond.”

Board members had said the window to submit proposals was too short, potentially favoring a very well-organized “entity.”

“My understanding is, the reason why you want to activate the space is because there’s been significant interest by a specific entity that’s probably pushed you to put it out there now,” said Enrique Cruz, a board member, at the meeting.

Ok, everyone can stop beating around the bush. Everyone knows that the mysterious “entity” in question is the Lowline, which has been envisioning its subterranean park in that space for years.

Many board members said they weren’t against the Lowline per se (in fact, the board voted to support it back in 2012) but asked the city to rescind the RFEI and start the process with community involvement from the get-go.

EDC reps maintain that the RFEI is no cause for concern. They say it’s a broad, open-ended document, and that the community board chair was informed of it before it was released on November 23. But since the EDC could potentially choose a “viable proposal” directly from an RFEI, bypassing a more stringent Request for Proposal (RFP) process guided by community board input, local groups will probably not stop agitating for more involvement at this stage.

Kerri Culhane, Associate Director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, said today an extension was not enough to salve the issue. “The community board wants a role in shaping the criteria for the RFEI and a direct role in the process,” she said, adding that Two Bridges and other community-based organizations will continue urging a reboot so things move forward “in a way that reflects the interests and concerns of our area residents and business owners.”