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DOE Should Grab Sunnyside Lot Before Developers, Parents Say

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Oct. 13, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

Parents have discovered a City-owned lot that they believe would be perfect for a new middle school, so they are urging the Department of Education to grab it before developers do.

The lot lies on the corner of 37th Avenue and 48th Street, near a shopping plaza. With a few small buildings and some apparent storage usage, the 125,000 square-foot lot is owned by the Department of Transportation, according to City records.

The Sunnyside Woodside Middle School Project will hold a rally there on Sunday at 2 p.m., to bring attention to the property and continue their call for the DOE to build a new neighborhood middle school.

Sunday’s rally will be a family-friendly event with balloons, group photos and live children’s music.

“I’m just trying to bring awareness of this site in the community before it gets snatched up,” Deb McGowan of Sunnyside Woodside MSP said. “We’re saying, ‘hey, build here, we got the land – don’t give it to a developer.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who visited the lot on Tuesday, called it “ideal for a middle school.”

“We’re lagging behind in middle school seats, particularly here in [School District] 30, so I’m out here to support the parents who have been pushing so hard for this,” he added.

Sunnyside Woodside MSP was born more than a year ago with the mission to find space for a local middle school, to accommodate growing elementary school populations and combat overcrowding at I.S. 125, the middle school that currently serves the area.

A 600-seat addition is in gear for I.S. 125 to replace its temporary units. In a letter (see attached) to elected officials provided to the Sunnyside Post by Sunnyside Woodside MSP, the DOE estimated that I.S. 125 is below 80 percent capacity.

However, with two new elementary schools recently constructed (P.S. 343 in Sunnyside and P.S. 361 in Woodside) and the neighborhood’s continued development, McGowan said, “we need to build now.”

“It would be an injustice for the DOE and the School Construction Authority not to build new schools now, plan for the additional population now,” Van Bramer agreed. “I think it’s not true to say that we don’t need the additional seats or the additional space.”

When asked for comment on the viability of the 37th Avenue lot, a DOE spokesperson said in a statement, “working closely with communities is key to strengthening our schools and ensuring our students thrive. We have committed to building over 1,900 new seats in District 30 alone, and we will continue to listen to families in the district – and across the city – to help address their needs.”

Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at [email protected]

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32 Comments

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Tommy T

The site is probably toxic anyway. Not that something like that would stop the dept of Ed. from building there.
Oh, and it’s conveniently located right across the tracks from the after hours club that Van B and the community board seem to love having in our neighborhood.

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sunnsyide_asitis

How about no development? Leave Sunnyside as it is. Congrats, you just alerted commercial developers to this spot. Idiots.

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ann

What a terrible location for a school – right on a major transportation corridor (48th St) with plenty of traffic. Buses, and cars going to many stores there- the traffic is intense. If city officials proposed this as a site for a school, parents would be screaming – very unsafe and unsuitable.

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Anonymous visitor

I don’t like this location. It is neither in Sunnyside nor Woodside. Why would you build a school for kids from Sunnyside in Astoria.Woodside already has a middle school – IS125. Let’s focus on building school in Sunnyside for Sunnyside kids. The proposed location is not convenient for anyone outside Sunnyside Gardens, no real transportation, long walk. Let’s stay within the borders of Sunnyside. I would much better prefer the place on 43 street next to the park which was considered by NYC FD

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Jimmy van dimples

Totally agree with ya Tommy T. these moms have way too much time on there hands. You live in NYC deal with it. The kids go where they go. Not so you can walk across the street just to make your day easier. How about a rally to clean up the run down shit hole mini park on 50th street. Worry about your own back yards being clean in what’s called a historical district.
Idea maybe someone can walk Van Idiot around on Sunday and show him all the garbage everywhere and shit under the LIRR thrown in the streets.
Maybe if the school opens they can take the kids on a field trip to show them how incompetent the local politician is and can’t even get his own neighborhood cleaned up.

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anon

All vacant property should be converted to schools, parks and bookstores, The only exception to this rule would be a Trader Joe’s.

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moolah

JVB will say one thing in public to gain the support of those in his district but they are only empty words. He has his eyes on higher office and he’s not going to waste a whole lot of political capital on projects like this. The only way a school gets built in this neighborhood is through the tried and true method of how things get done in this day and age. And that is to bring in big developers and their money. Tell them that they can erect a 100 story rental building (with tax breaks of course) under the condition that they build the community a middle school. If you are relying on our politicians to take the initiative and actually do the right thing for our community, then you need to wake up and smell the rotten eggs.

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Neutral Observer

JVB oversaw the construction of a school on 39th Avenue and 58th Street. No condos in it. But, then, I’m not sure there isn’t another project tied to it. Need to pay a reporter enought to live on so they can afford to look into it.

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Tommy T

Ya know what these Sunny Gardens moms would love (but never admit)? If they could zone the school so that only members of the Sunnyside Gardens Park could attend it!

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Deborah Alexander

Ignore that comment. He clearly doesn’t understand that providing a middle school for the incredibly diverse population in Sunnyside/Woodside also helps out the kids at 125.

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Tommy T

Ah, I see what this is all about.
Sunnyside Gardens moms (who claim they like living in a vibrant, diverse area but are sure to tell all their friends and relatives to move to the area so it won’t stay that way) want a school just for their precious kids. They don’t want to have to move to the suburbs like all those uncool people. Can’t have the kids over at 125 with the great unwashed. Well, your dream of an Aryan educational institute is doomed. The people who shop down the street at National Wholesale Liquidators and Five Below will be zoned for that school as well. Woodside Houses, baby! Have fun!

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Anna

What are you talking about? You don’t know the race or background of any of these commentators, nor of the people organizing the petition and rally. We WANT the school there so it can serve everyone. Please keep your racist, paranoid comments to yourself.

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Anna

Yeah, I was thinking that. Tommy T sounds like a guy in a wife beater who stays home all day listening to Rush Limbaugh. You should get out of the house Tommy! The world’s not so bad.

thumbs down

schools should be in a neighborhood, part of a community. not in an industrial area. how is this a good choice?!? knock down the empty paradise billiards and build there, at least its on the edge of a neighborhood with some people around.

i am convinced now that JVB will say anything if the group behind him says it, theres no way this site is “IDEAL” WTF Jimmy!??

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Krs

When the kids from woodside housing projects and the other side of norther Blvd start attending the school as well let’s see if you still think that 37th ave known as scumbag ally by all old school sunnysiders will be the optimal location

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Krs

The Korean Church on skillman ave between 41st street and 40th st would be a better location for our kids

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Anonymous visitor

I think it is too small location for school. It would have to be zoned only for kids coming out of PS150Q like 150 spots per grade.

Sunnyside Woodside MSP

That empty paradise billiards is privately owned and the family doesn’t want to sell. SCA said they looked into that location.

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Sunnyside Woodside MSP

Hi, actually our first choice was the empty billiards hall on 48th & Barnett. It’s an eyesore. I can confirm what somebody says below, it’s owned by a family that absolutely, under no circumstances, wants to sell. A few group have approached them and we’ve heard they’ve said No to all of them. We also asked about the 43rd street site that was going to be a NYFD truck garage, but that group wanted 30 Million, or something around that amount. That’s what makes this side so ideal (yes, Ideal) it’s government property that houses excess materials and feral cats. It’s not in people’s backyards yet still a quick walk from Sunnyside and Woodside.

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doc

If the SCA really wanted that location they would have taken it or at least held it hostage like they did with the former Steven’s location on queens Blvd.

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Michael

The Q104 48 Street Bus and the Q66 Northern Blvd bus run directly there, plus the city already owns the property which is a major savings.
Perfect location to move the 6th graders from PS 150 and PS 11 to make room for more Pre-K classes in the area.

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Hello

There are a bunch of pre-k classes at the PS 150 annex which is on 44th street. How many more would you want?

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Hello

I forgot to add that a middle school is more of a necessity than pre-k classes which already exist at PS 150, 199 and 343.

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Sunnyside Woodside MSP

Thanks Anna. We aren’t doing a petition at this point. We did one last year and got over 650 hand written signatures. You could call the Councilman (718) 383-9566 or e-mail him at [email protected] to let him know you will not be able to attend the rally but like the idea. If you are willing to attend an event in the future every Community Board 2 meeting, on the first Thursday of every month, allows public comments on anything. You could speak a that since the land use committee would be one of the groups that have to approve the site.

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Anna

Fantastic idea! How do we show support if we can’t make the rally? Is there a petition circulating?

Reply

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