Thursday, December 10, 2009

Approval Granted for Greenspace at Rundown Intersection

The LIRR has signed off on a plan spearheaded by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley to beautify the intersection of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue, which is currently dominated by a run-down building that was formerly home to a newsstand.

Crowley (D-Middle Village) was joined at the site in September by fellow elected officials to call on the LIRR, which owns the property, to allow a community greenspace be created until a plan to develop the area moves forward. That plan has been delayed for years, leaving the structure to deteriorate at the intersection where Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood meet.

“I am excited that the LIRR has approved our plan to clean up and green up the property,” said Crowley in a statement. “For the past decade this abandoned old newsstand has invited graffiti, vandalism and traffic. As one of the busiest intersections in Queens, beautifying this corner will help east traffic tension, reduce crime and attract consumers to surrounding businesses.”

The next step, according to Crowley, is securing funding for the project. Her office is estimating that about $100,000 will be needed to demolish the structure and replace it with greenery and benches. She plans on working with city and state officials, including Assemblymembers Mike Miller (D-Glendale) and Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) in hopes of finding money to complete the intersection’s transformation.

“This is an important community initiative,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “We are working with Councilmember Crowley to help the community identify a source of funding for removal of the old newsstand building and to develop a green area.”

The intersection is one of the busiest in the borough, with six different bus lines passing through the area each day, along with thousands of vehicles and pedestrians. At a recent hearing on the MTA’s 2014 capital plan, Crowley testified about the property and provided board members with photos of the abandoned LIRR-owned properties. Board members then surveyed the area before approved her proposal.

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