Monday, May 16, 2011
Developer destroys playground and we're gonna pay
From the Queens Chronicle:
Parents, students and homeowners in Springfield Gardens are furious after a developer destroyed PS 251’s playground and then, they said, school officials told them that there is no money in the budget to replace the equipment.
George and Annette Bradley, the leaders of the New Springfield Gardens Homeowners Association, and both former educators — she at York College and he at Springfield Gardens High School — have been at the forefront of the crusade to restore the playground.
They explained that about seven years ago a developer had come to their group asking for permission to run a sewer line near area houses for some apartments he was going to build along the South Conduit. The group refused, but he built the dwellings anyway.
The units remained vacant, becoming targets for graffiti vandals, homeless squatters and rodents until a few months ago, when a new developer, Our Conduit Ltd. of Great Neck, LI, purchased the property, according to Annette Bradley. The company could not be reached for comment.
Our Conduit acquired the proper permits, got the permission of the DOE and dug up the playground, according to neighbors, and the area near the home of Delia Lewis at 184-29 144 Road in order to put in the sewer line. She was the only property owner to receive advanced notice of the construction, according to neighbors.
Although the quality of life issues associated with the vacant apartments would probably be rectified once tenants move in, the Bradleys and others are not sure that things will get better. They believe that the space will be used as Section 8 housing or for other low- income tenants that may not take care of the neighborhood like the homeowners do.
The homeowners association has acquired 200 signatures from irate parents wanting to get the playground back. One of those, Michael Pinckney, has two children attending the school — one in first grade and one in third grade.
Pinckney said he was informed by school officials that the school could not put back the original playground equipment because it didn’t meet current safety standards, and there is not enough money in the budget to buy new items.
Okay, one question... why is the City not taking the developer to court to mandate that the company pay for the equipment that was destroyed? Why is the school expected to come up with the money for repairs? Are taxpayers going to get screwed twice?