Friday, May 18, 2012
WPU returns to CB7 to demand road repair
From the Times Ledger:
In the wake of a city decision to drop its eminent domain proceedings, property owners from Willets Point called on the city Department of Transportation to repair the streets of their neighborhood at Monday’s Community Board 7 meeting and had a unique guest speaker to help make their case.
Ralph Paterno, who owns property where the city wanted to build the first phase of a $3 billion redevelopment project for the area, took to the podium flanked by large posters of the pothole-strewn streets.
“The city will not be in the position to actually develop Willets Point anytime soon or perhaps ever,” he said. “So I and other Willets Point property owners are here tonight to publicly ask Community Board 7 to please help us put pressure on DOT to repair and maintain the Willets Point streets.”
The mayor’s office recently dropped the bid to condemn property in the 20-acre Phase 1 section of the plan, but without providing any details said the redevelopment project is still moving forward.
Sources with knowledge of a city-issued request for proposals said that Related Co. and Sterling Equities, run by the Wilpon family, were awarded a contract to build a 12-acre mall across from Citi Field.
But that was not on the minds of the property owners who spoke at the meeting, saying that while they paid taxes to the city, they were not getting the requisite services in return.
“Would you tolerate conditions in front of your house that looked like this?” Paterno asked before turning to CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty. “Mr. Kelty, back in 2008 you actually chastised the people of Willets Point for not being vocal enough in demanding city services.”
A young man who came to the meeting then activated a CD player and Kelty’s voice from 2008 was immediately audible.
“I can tell you this — if someone was taking taxes from me and I wasn’t getting my services, I certainly wouldn’t be paying my taxes,” Kelty said on tape.