From the Queens Chronicle:
Despite persistent problems of overcrowding and a dire need for seats in Community School District 24, Community Board 4 voted no on Tuesday to a proposed new 1,100-seat primary school in Corona, due to the site’s close proximity to a firehouse.
At Tuesday’s meeting at VFW Post 150 in Corona, area residents and Board 4 members were in agreement, and told representatives from the city’s School Construction Authority that the proposed site at 96-18 43 Ave. is much too close for comfort to the ‘Corona Tiger’s’ firehouse, Engine Co. 289 and Ladder 138, at 97-28 43 Ave.
“This location is seriously dangerous for many reasons,” said FDNY Battalion Chief Vincent Mavaro. Some of the reasons Mavaro cited included numerous double-parked cars, traffic-choked streets and the general narrowness of 43rd Avenue, which could impede the progress of fire trucks coming down the block and passing the school if traffic increased.
“In a fire, seconds count and can mean the difference between life and death,” he said. “I’m also really afraid that a tragic accident could occur involving a student.” Mavaro added that the majority of the firehouse’s emergency responses are during school hours.
“The firehouse here on 43rd Avenue is very busy,” Mavaro continued. “I’m here to register the Fire Department’s strong opposition to the placement of this school and I urge the SCA to reconsider this site.”
In response, Christopher Persheff, who manages real estate services for the SCA, said the agency has already decided to move forward. “We both provide much needed services,” Persheff said, referring to the Fire Department and the SCA. “I am not going to get into whether one is more important than the other but we’re both trying to just do our jobs.”
Persheff added that with this site’s selection, his agency was trying hard to eliminate the need for the use of portable classrooms or trailers.
Several board members asked the SCA to reconsider its planned location. Board member James Lisa asked, “What price do you put on a child’s life?”