Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jackson Heights says early goodbye to play street

From the Daily News:

A play street that a park-starved Jackson Heights community fought long and hard to open up to the neighborhood this summer has come to a premature end.

The city reopened the stretch of 78th St. between 34th Ave. and Northern Blvd. to traffic unexpectedly last week at the request of a private school that borders the temporary open space.

The move left elected officials and community leaders scrambling to come up with a solution.

The road will revert back to a vehicle-free play street on Friday nights and weekends, a Transportation Department official said.

But that wasn't good enough for local leaders, who have been lobbying for more park space in the neighborhood for years.

"We are working closely with the Garden School and the Department of Transportation to come up with a solution that is acceptable to all," City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said.

This isn't the first time the private school has come under fire on the issue of open space.

Garden has taken heat from community leaders and residents who would like the school to sell its yard to the city for parkland - a process that could take longer and be less lucrative than accepting an offer from a developer.

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