May 3, 2012 By Christian Murray
Two local women complained at the Community Board 2 meeting Thursday night that the Skillman Ave. Street Fair held April 21 inconvenienced residents and hurt nearby businesses.
“Cars were towed, we had trouble getting access to our homes and there were no-parking signs everywhere,” said Carole Vance, a nearby resident. She said police barricades were up for most of Saturday and then on Sunday, sanitation trucks took to the streets to clean up afterward. After the meeting she said it was not as though residents got any great benefit: “you can buy socks anywhere.”
Meanwhile, Rita Lowry, the owner of Welcome Home Real Estate on Skillman Ave, said her business was disrupted by the fair. She said a large truck was parked outside her office with a loud generator used to power a children’s game. Her agents, she said, struggled to hear their clients on the phone.
Additionally, Lowry said, the food stands hurt business for local restaurants.
Vance wanted to know who the beneficiaries of the street fair were. The fair was put on by the for-profit company Clearview Festival Productions and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside. Neither group had representatives at the meeting.
Given the inconvenience, “we need to know who is profiting,” Vance said. While the profit is split between Clearview and the Kiwanis (and other non-profits), she said she wanted to know who got what.
Joe Conley, the chairman of Community Board 2, said he wanted to know more about their complaints and recommended that they put a petition together if they believed there was a lot of support to move the street fair elsewhere. Both women said after the board meeting that they would get a petition going.
Meanwhile, Jim Condes, a Woodside resident, complained that city officials had announced the construction of a new school on 39th Avenue (between 57th and 58th Streets) in February without providing the community any notice.
Condes said that the School Construction Authority had already bought the lot, yet nearby residents didn’t get a chance to voice their concerns about noise, traffic issues and general safety.
“It’s a done deal and we got no input,” Condes said. He added that city officials have already said that the tentative date of completion is September 2015.
Conley said that the plans are in the preliminary process and that the Community Board knew little about it until it was presented at last month’s Land Use Committee meeting.
A spokeswoman for the Queens Library system informed the community that the mayor plans to cut the Queens library budget by $27 million. She said if the budget cuts go into effect, the Sunnyside and Woodside branches most likely would be open just two or three days a week. Currently, the Sunnyside branch is open six days, while the Woodside branch is open 5 days per week.
She urged residents to go to http://www.savequeenslibrary.org and sign the petition.