Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jackson Heights asks Parks to use eminent domain

From the NY Times:

The loud chatter of playground games at Thomas J. Travers Park in Jackson Heights will quiet – at least a little — in the near future.

The popular Queens park, on 34th Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets, is undergoing renovations and parents say they’re worried they won’t have a place to take their children to play. The Jackson Heights neighborhood ranks almost last for lack of green space in New York City.

Plans for the $1.7 million overhaul — which is being financed through the discretionary budget of Councilwoman Helen Sears, a Democrat who recently lost her bid for re-election in a closely fought primary — show that work will be done mostly on the playground and sprinkler system. Parts of the park are damaged or worn beyond repair because it’s such a heavily used area, said Dorothy Lewandowski, the Queens parks commissioner.

“In a one-year period, they will have a beautiful new play space with brand-new play equipment,” Ms. Lewandowski said.

The start work order began on Sept. 9 and Ms. Lewandowski said she expected parts of Travers Park to close sometime this week or the next. The sports areas and smaller playground will remain open, she said.

The lack of green space in the neighborhood has prompted the Jackson Heights Green Alliance to push for the purchase of a nearby Toyota dealership through eminent domain to expand Travers Park.

Ms. Lewandowski said Jackson Heights was a difficult district because sections are overdeveloped and there’s a general lack of park space. But, there are no definitive prospects for another park.

“Currently, there’s nothing that’s firm,” she said. “There has been a large community interest in acquiring the Toyota dealership. Beyond that, unfortunately, not at this time.”

Daniel Dromm, who defeated Ms. Sears in the Democratic primary two weeks ago, has said he would be in favor of the use of eminent domain if it meant relieving some of the overcrowding park issues in the neighborhood.

Sorry, but acquiring parkland via eminent domain is against the Bloomberg doctrine because it fails to benefit developers.

No comments: