Friday, July 16, 2010

City Officials Dragging Their Feet On St. Saviour's Church Park Site

Developer Applies For Permits To Construct Warehouses, Not Park Land 

Rendering of St. Saviour's Park created with community input. Unless action is taken Maspeth will be one of the few areas that will not have a park within a ten minute walking distance by the year 2030, a goal created under PLANYC2030, Mayor Michael Bloomberg' s blue print for a sustainable city.  Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has said that the Maspeth community will only get this park if they come up with the funding to purchase the property, build the park and maintain it in the future.

"It is time for the Parks Department to stop dragging its feet and acquire this blighted property by whatever means necessary and transform it back into publicly accessible open space," said Christina Wilkinson. "The Mayor's Office and our elected officials must act together quickly and responsibly to make sure that irreparable damage is not done to this community or else their enduring legacy will be that of a concrete jungle where there should have been a green oasis.


Civic leaders hoping to transform the former site of St. Saviour's Church in Maspeth into parkland had their hopes dashed this week when the owner unveiled plans to build warehouses on the site, according to the New York Daily News.

Maspeth Development LLC applied for city permits to construct four buildings on a portion of the 1.5-acre property at 57th Road and 58th St.

"I'm willing to work with anyone, but we're moving forward," said developer Scott Kushnick. "The city cannot come up with the money, and I have my back against the wall."

The company had hoped to build residential units when it purchased the land several years ago. But the community rallied against the project and the zoning change needed to make it happen.

Civic activist Christina Wilkinson pointed out that the Buildings Department has issued three violations and a partial stop-work order against the developer because of conditions at the site.

She called on elected officials to come up with funds for the land "or else their enduring legacy will be that of a concrete jungle where there should have been a green oasis."

The St. Saviour's site in 2010 after the parsonage had been demolished, the church removed from the property, and the land was leveled. In July 2007 the developer destroyed all 185 trees on the site. Maspeth is very underserved by parks. There are a total of 12 acres of parkland for more than 36,000 residents, which is about 1 acre for every 3,000 residents. The City of New York has calculated the ideal amount of open space to be 2.5 acres of parkland per 1000 residents.

Read More:

Plan calls for warehouses, not park land as hoped, for St. Saviour's Maspeth site

New York Daily News - July 16, 2010 -  By Lisa L. Coangelo  

The Story of St. Saviour's: One Community's Battle to Create a City Park

A Walk In The Park - May 17, 2010 - By Christina Wilkinson  

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