Queens Gazette Op-Ed BY RODOLFO SARCHESE
Word of our plight must get to the readers of your publication!
We, the people of Northwest Queens, have a story to tell and we want your paper to tell it.
The story is about the sale of Con Edison land to a private entity (Steel Equities) who will then lease to Federal Express.
Steel Equities is currently negotiating with Con Edison to purchase and develop a 21-acre vacant Con Edison parcel of land located at 31-01 20th Ave. in Astoria to be developed as a Federal Express ground facility.
If this project were to go forward, approximately 200 trucks per day would be using the local streets. This is in addition to the vehicles of the people who will work at the new facility proposed to be built on this site. Already hundreds of trucks from the industrial area in the vicinity use our local streets, often disregarding the truck routes. They include the trucks of the telephone company and Charmer Industries, as well as oil and construction trucks. In addition, we have Rikers Island prison with over 13,000 detainees who bring daily visitors and approximately 7,000 employees, most of whom drive to and from work, LaGuardia Airport traffic, two bridges, the Grand Central Parkway, Con Edison and the Astoria energy plants and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which all add to the congestion in our neighborhood.
Little consideration has been given to our community suffering from the fumes of the constant traffic flow and energy-producing polluters.
Federal Express offers no benefit to the residents of Northwest Queens. In fact, the presence of the proposed Federal Express facility would only exacerbate the health, safety and congestion problems experienced by the residents of this community.
Only Con Edison would profit from its plan to sell this property, and at the expense of residents of Northwestern Queens. We have grown weary of Con Edison's disregard for the quality of life of its host community.
It is time for Con Edison to be a good neighbor.
The Con Edison property on 20th Avenue must not be made available for sale or lease.
Why not create a first class recreational facility for our children and seniors to enjoy? It could be a park area with benches, athletic fields and hundreds of trees that would help reduce the pollution problem. This could be a place for neighbors to meet, talk, read, and play with their children.
We have had our blackouts and pollution problems. It is time to create a greener environment. Con Edison must be a responsible neighbor!
Rodolfo Sarchese is president of The Astoria Homeowners, Tenants and Business Civic Association.