August 6, By Christian Murray
The FDNY, which aimed to purchase a site next to Lou Lodati Park to store a fleet of fire engines, has formerly withdrawn its request to acquire the site.
The FDNY notified the Queens Borough President’s office on July 29 that it no longer seeks the use of the 39-34 43rd Street location, according to a spokesman for the borough president’s office.
The FDNY initially sought the site to keep a reserve fleet of about 100 engines on hand in case any of its vehicles throughout the city broke down. Additionally, the site was to be used to warehouse its wrecked and decommissioned vehicles.
The plan, which needed to go before the borough president’s office for review, was essentially torpedoed in June–when Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced his opposition to it.
“I have serious concerns about these large trucks rumbling in and out a residential neighborhood—adjoining a park where literally thousands of children, pets, and seniors cross the street to go to,” Van Bramer said at the time.
The FDNY needed the approval of the city council to go ahead with the plan and without Van Bramer’s blessing its chances were bleak.
The FDNY withdrew its application before Queens Borough President Melinda Katz even got to weigh in on it.
“I am pleased that the FDNY has decided to withdraw its application for the proposed 43rd Street facility,” Van Bramer said. “While I support the FDNY and the brave men and women who serve it, this site is not appropriate for this use.”
The proposal, which was controversial from the get-go, drew fierce opposition from adjacent homeowners.
For instance, at the Community Board 2 hearing on the proposal — which was on the same night as the vote– Mike Kenny, a nearby resident said: “This is a residential neighborhood, not suitable for a 24 hour corridor that already suffers from increased noise, pollution and traffic.”
Some of the advocates for the plan, however, argued that it made more sense to work with the FDNY than to have no say over a commercial enterprise that would eventually take over the site. Their argument was based on the premise that something worse could move in and the community would not be able to weigh in on it.
The plan did receive the approval of Community Board 2, subject to multiple conditions. Nevertheless, at the time the board rendered its decision the FDNY had not provided the board with any information as to how many big trucks would be rolling in and out of the site.