Thursday, March 5, 2009

This Week's Forum South and West

Two Area Hospitals Shut Doors

Maspeth School Debate Rages On

City Begins Digging Out from Storm

Hearing Set on Forest Hills Rezoning

Ozone Park Resident Celebrates 100th Birthday

City Renames New Elmhurst Park

Recount in 32th Council Special Election

Two Area Hospitals Shut Doors


By Conor Greene

With no last minute state bailout, the fear of many local residents and health care workers has come to fruition with the closings of two area hospitals this week.

St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica stopped admitting patients late on Saturday night and officially closed on Monday. The two hospitals, operated by bankrupt health care system Caritas, had stopped accepting patients at their emergency rooms earlier this month.

The ominous message, “Please don’t die on your way to another hospital,” was scrawled on a piece of plywood covering the entrance to the emergency room at St. John’s. A note on the main door told visitors who unwittingly arrived there to call 911 for medical help.

Myrna Bailey, who served as hospital administrator at St. John’s and Catherine Wilkinson, who rose to the ranks of administrative director during her 40 years at St. John’s, took one of their final walks through the empty corridors over the weekend.

“Silence is good in some situations, but not in this situation,” Wilkinson told NY1. “I’ve been listening to this silence for about a week now, so I’m kind of getting immune to it, if one can become immune to it, but initially it was very, very frightening.”

“Silence is golden, but not here,” added Bailey.

While the hospital’s parent company, Caritas, has struggled financially since purchasing the two facilities in late 2006, word of their imminent closure came earlier this year. Despite a number of rallies at the hospitals and pleas from residents, workers and elected officials, the state declined to provide additional funding to keep the facilities operating.

Instead, the state announced last month that it is providing $18 million to seven area hospitals to help them deal with the influx of new patients the closures are expected to generate. The money is to be used by the local facilities to expand their emergency rooms and add more beds. Combined, St. John’s and Mary Immaculate had about 450 beds and served nearly 200,000 patients annually.

City Comptroller William Thompson criticized the state for failing to bail out the two hospitals so they could continue operating until a plan is put into place to deal with fallout from the closings. “Despite numerous calls from the various stakeholders to prevent or delay the hospitals closures, the state has failed to keep [the] hospitals open,” he said in a statement. “Without putting a plan in place, the state has left many unanswered questions about how Queens residents will be able to get their health care needs met.”

According to Thompson, the fire department, which oversees Emergency Medical Services, “also has not addressed how the closures will impact the health and safety of area residents including transition plans for 911 emergency medical response and treatment services.”

Workers at other hospitals are now bracing for a rise in the number of patients showing up at their doors. For example, Jamaica Hospital’s emergency room had averaged about 350 patients per day. Now, with the emergency rooms at St. John’s and Mary Immaculate shut for the past few weeks, the number of daily patients at Jamaica is approaching 400, according to a report in the Daily News.

Now, about 2,500 healthcare workers are facing the grim prospects of entering the job market during at the worst possible time. “I want to chain myself to the chair,” a teary-eyed Laura Beidell told the New York Post. “Not only do we work here, but we’ve all brought our families here. We’ve had parents who died here. This place is very special to us.”

Maspeth School Debate Rages On

Emotional Hearing on City Proposal and Use of Eminent Domain

By Conor Greene

The debate over the city’s plan to build a high school in Maspeth continued during an emotional public hearing pitting residents opposed to another school in the crowded neighborhood against parents and teachers who support the proposal.

The hearing last Thursday in PS 58 centered on the city’s possible use of eminent domain to acquire the former Restaurant Depot site on 74th Street and 57th Avenue to build a 1,100-seat high school. However, the hearing continually reverted into a debate over whether the site is appropriate, since there already are two schools within a two block radius of the proposed site.

While the meeting at times got heated, those on both sides of the fence were able to agree on one thing, as many speakers expressed outrage that the city held the meeting at 4 p.m. on a weekday. As a result, the small auditorium was not even half filled for the meeting, while prior meetings on the hot button issue held in the evening attracted large crowds.

Dorie Figliola called the meeting’s timing a “disgrace,” drawing loud applause, and Manny Caruana said it was an “outrage” it was held while so many residents with a stake in the issue were at work. “You virtually silenced the voice of the homeowners in the area,” he told the School Construction Authority official running the meeting. “This is the way SCA works.”

A department spokesman was unable to explain the rationale behind holding the meeting in the afternoon by press time Wednesday. However, SCA attorney Gregory Shaw previously told The Forum that the meeting was not held at night because “most people are not interested” about whether eminent domain should be used.

The meeting was solely a public hearing, with no formal action taken. Residents took the opportunity to debate the plan, with the majority arguing that the area is already over-saturated with schools, bringing thousands of students onto the streets in the morning and afternoon. Those in favor of the plan argued the area desperately needs additional high school seats and that children should have the chance to continue their education close to home.

Lorraine Sciulli, a member of the Juniper Park Civic Association’s executive board, said she is “totally opposed to this school at this site” and questioned the Department of Education’s claim that it will serve just 1,100 students, as the plan initially called for 1,650 seats. “Yes, they all deserve an education, but they don’t have to have it in Maspeth,” she said. “Why does Maspeth have to be the school campus of District 24?”

Tony Nunziato said the DOE and SCA should have notified Community Board 5 of the hearing, which was not advertised in local papers. “We’re talking about overdevelopment, over-saturation,” he said, adding that eminent domain should come as a last resort for projects that benefit the public at large.

Many, including Anthony Moreno of 56th Avenue, made it clear they support education, but don’t think this location is appropriate. “I’m in favor of education – no doubt about it,” he said. “I’m here to oppose this site and to oppose eminent domain.” The CB 4 member suggested that the DOE instead look into property on 57th Avenue near the Queens Center Mall, which is close to many public transit lines.

Dermot Smith, a teacher at IS 73 and Maspeth resident, said he supports the plan and claimed that opponents of the plan were using the eminent domain issue to “manipulate your thoughts.” The reality, he said, is that “Queens high schools are bursting at the seams… We cannot give kids a quality education unless they have seats… Don’t be mislead, schools are a good thing.”

Marge Kolb, who heads the CEC 24 PTA Presidents’ Council, said there is a “lot of support among parents” for the project. “We can fill this school with kids who live in this immediate area,” she said, adding that while there “are not a lot of houses” around the site, “these people bought houses across from a big commercial enterprise.”

Rosemary Parker said she felt like she was in an “alternate reality” listening to critics of the proposal. “I’m really sorry I had to be here tonight to take this abuse and be in Archie Bunker’s house,” she said, drawing yells and groans from many in the audience.

Despite requests that the school be zoned for local students, the DOE has refused to do so because it is against department policy. Department spokesman William Havemann said the DOE will consider giving priority zoning to local students before opening enrollment to citywide residents. The current plan gives priority to students throughout Queens.

Several residents criticized the city’s potential use of eminent domain to acquire the site, which the DOE says might be necessary because the property owner hasn’t responded to inquiries about the property. Rosemarie Daraio, president of Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together, said she is disappointed that the DOE is “once again coming in to eminent domain another piece of property,” adding that the school would be “devastating for the community.”

At one point, the hearing – conducted by a sole SCA official – melted down into a shouting match at the back of the auditorium. Tempers also flared when several speakers referred to the students as “monsters” and complained that teachers block driveways and throw garbage out their car windows. With the SCA official seemingly unable or unwilling to bring the meeting under control, CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano stepped up to the microphone and eventually brought the meeting under control.

With just the one official in attendance, some including JPCA President Robert Holden questioned if the hearing would have any impact on whether the DOE will move forward with the plan, calling the meeting a “sham.”

Havemann said the purpose of the hearing was “to get public feedback before we make a decision as whether or not to use eminent domain, as required by law.” Since it is “just not feasible to have every member of the SCA at every meeting,” the lone official later “relays the feedback to other members.” If they need more information, members can then review a transcript of the hearing.

A City Council Land Use subcommittee hearing on the proposal was postponed earlier this month and will likely take place within 30 days. It would then go to the full City Council for approval, and local member Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) said she won’t support the plan unless priority is given to local children.

City Begins Digging Out from Storm

Mayor Criticized for Comments About School Closure

By Conor Greene

With temperatures expected to reach the 50’s by the weekend, much of the snow and ice dumped on the city during Monday will soon melt away, but not before crippling much of the city and forcing officials to close public schools for the first time in five years.

Much of the city saw at least eight inches of snow overnight Sunday into Monday in what will surely be the winter season’s biggest storm. For the first time since January 2004, city officials decided to close public schools due to the inclement weather, and many side streets around Queens remained unplowed for several days.

At a briefing on the city’s efforts to clean up the city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that there are about 6,000 miles of roads within the five boroughs. “So to plow all our streets, just think about this, it’s like plowing from here to Los Angeles and back,” he told reporters at a press conference in Woodside. “It is really quite an amazing job the sanitation workers have to do.”

More than 3,000 sanitation workers worked Sunday night into Monday to clear streets, according to Sanitation Department Commissioner John Doherty, who recalled the storm of February 1969 when 15 inches of snow fell on the city. The mayor at the time, John Lindsay, came under heavy criticism after the storm left the city paralyzed for three days.

“I spent some time in Queens north, which some may remember in ’69 was a very sensitive area for the mayor at the time, and the areas looked pretty good,” said Doherty.

Post-storm cleanup generally costs about one million dollars per inch of snow, and while Mayor Bloomberg declined to say how much this storm will cost the cash strapped city, he said the city is still well within budget for this winter season. “For seven years, we have been clearing the streets every time there has been a snowstorm, whether it was an election year or not,” he said.

While the mayor isn’t taking much heat for the city’s response to the storm, he has come under fire for the Department of Education’s relatively late decision to cancel schools, which came at 5:39 a.m. As a result, some parents and students began their daily routine – with some even arriving at closed schools – before realizing that classes were canceled.

At his news briefing, Mayor Bloomberg had this to say about the decision: “I think if you got up this morning and looked outside and the question didn’t come right away, hmm, I wonder if school is going to be open today and you didn’t know enough to call 311, I would suggest another day in school is probably a good idea.”

The comment was immediately seized upon by City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who said that many parents were forced to scramble as a result of the “eleventh-hour” closing decision.

“Mike Bloomberg’s comments are extremely insulting to parents and demonstrate that he is completely out of touch with the average person,” said Avella in a statement. “Regardless of school closings, many parents still need to go to work and were forced to scramble to find child care. If DOE knew they were going to close the schools due to the inclement weather they needed to make the decision sooner and properly notify the parents.”

Avella, who is mounting a grassroots challenge to Mayor Bloomberg in November, said that New Yorkers “are sick and tired of Mike Bloomberg’s ‘just-deal-with-it’ attitude” and “deserves a mayor who realizes what the average person goes through on a daily basis.”

At the press conference, Bloomberg noted that a message notifying residents of the school closing was posted on the city’s 311 phone line, which received 140,000 calls by 10 a.m. Monday. He said that the late decision to close school was because officials waited to see if the storm would weaken or veer off course and miss the city.

The storm also caused some problems at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale on Tuesday afternoon, when melting ice chunks began falling from overhead awnings and roofs, according to a shopper. Security guards were forced to tape off several sidewalks in front of a number of businesses so that the ice could be safely removed.

In Forest Hills, Frank Gulluscio, district manager of Community Board 6, said his office didn’t receive any major complaints about lack of plowing or other issues. “They [Sanitation Department] were out doing a second phase [of cleanup] today and are salting the secondary streets today, along with the areas near fire hydrants, crosswalks and bus stops,” he said. “That’s the big thing for the everyday guy, to be able to cross the street or get to the bus stop.”

The storm caused the cancellation of about 450 flights out of LaGuardia, 119 at JFK International Airport and 335 at Newark Liberty International Airport, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The storm nearly matched the record for a one-day March snowfall in Manhattan, set when ten inches fell in 1898.

Hearing Set on Forest Hills Rezoning

Intended to Prevent McMansions in Cord Meyer Section

By Conor Greene

The city is moving forward with a plan to rezone the Cord Meyer section of Forest Hills, where many modest homes have been demolished and replaced with huge McMansions in recent years.

A public hearing on the proposal, which would limit the height of single family houses in a 32-block area, is scheduled for next Wednesday’s Community Board 6 meeting. Under the plan, restrictions would be put into place establishing a 25-foot maximum perimeter wall height and a 35-foot maximum roof height.

Under the area’s current R1-2 zoning, established in 1961, there are no firm limitations on building height, according to the Department of City Planning, which is pursuing a similar strategy in North Flushing. Some community residents and leaders have objected as many Cape Cod and Tudor-style homes have been torn down to make way for large, often ornate mansions – many of which featured paved-over front lawns.

Frank Gulluscio, district manager of CB 6, called the current zoning “outdated” and said that “over the past couple of years, what has existed there is changing… The prevailing scale and character has changed and doesn’t really reflect what the existing houses looked like,” he said. The formal public review process for the proposal began this week, giving the community board 60 days to review the plan.

According to Gulluscio, depending on the outcome of Wednesday’s hearing, a vote by the board is likely that evening. It will then go Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and the City Planning Commission for review before City Council considers granting it final approval.

The rezoning will be confined to the Cord Meyer neighborhood, bounded by 66th Avenue to the north, Grand Central Parkway to the east, 72nd Road to the south and 108th Street to the west. The area consists primarily of one-family detached homes, mostly built between 1910 and1940 on relatively large lots, according to city planning, which notes that the area’s low density and low-rise character is a distinct contrast with the character of nearby blocks lined with mid-rise apartment buildings to the west and south, especially near Queens Boulevard.

The rezoning comes “in response to community concern,” according to city planning, and was pushed by Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills), who is chair of the City Council Land Use Committee. Katz did not return a phone message seeking comment on the proposal left at her office.

Many of the large new homes have been constructed by members of the area’s large Bukharian Jewish community, a trend that has been criticized by some in the community as being out of character with existing homes. City officials have reached out to the Bukharian community to discuss the rezoning plan, and Gulluscio said he thinks the proposal is a fair compromise. “Is there some opposition on both ends? Yes, but at the end of the day the city has proposed a decent compromise,” he said. “I think it’s a step to ensure the future is more predictable.”

Meanwhile, a separate project to rezone parts of Austin Street from Yellowstone Boulevard to Ascan Avenue is also moving through the land use review process. That plan would allow residential development along parts of the popular shopping district while placing height restrictions on new construction for the first time. The proposal has already been approved by the City Planning Commission and is scheduled for a hearing before the City Council zoning subcommittee in coming weeks.

Ozone Park Resident Celebrates 100th Birthday

By Samantha Geary

On February 26, 1909, remnants of a snow storm worried immigrant parents Mary and John Kovach. Their baby was on the way, and they feared they had to press on to get to the hospital so that she could be delivered. John loaded Mary into a sleigh and they made their way to the hospital where baby Anna Kovach was born in a nearby village where she was also baptized. But within two days Anna’s grasp on life seemed as firm as the new-fallen snow. Today, 100 years later, Anna, now known as Annette Fennelly Morris, is still holding on.

Raised in Brockton, a small village in eastern Pennsylvania, coal-mining county, Anna shared her childhood with older sister Marion and a younger brother Michael. The house was surrounded with animals, including a cow and chickens and a vegetable garden in their front yard.

It was there that Anna learned to cope, to care and to survive. Her father was a coal miner her mother a midwife, at times, and caregiver to a town besieged by the terrible influenza that followed the First World War. After leaving home at 16, Anna found her way to a hospital in Allentown where she worked and trained, caring for the ill. She would eventually become a registered nurse in the State of New York, working in hospitals and private settings.

At the age of 27 she married Patrick Fennelly, an Irish immigrant, and after the birth of a daughter, Loretta, moved from the Bronx to Ozone Park in Queens, where she has lived for the past 70 years. Patrick opened a Mobil gasoline service station in Ozone Park, calling the establishment “Paddy’s Super Service.” stood at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and 102nd Street. They had two sons, Richard and Robert. After 20 years of marriage, Patrick died. (She is his widow for the past 52 years.) She tried managing the service station on her own for a couple of years but gave it up and relinquished the property back to the oil company and returned to private duty nursing, considering herself no longer qualified for hospital work. A Dunkin' Donuts now sits over one of the service bays.

In 1971 she married William (Bill) Morris, a retired NYC lieutenant firefighter and occasional pallbearer. They traveled. Bill too is gone for many years. She now has two cats, Bushy and Kit.

She attributes her longevity to eating sensibly and avoiding saturated fats, to her nursing skills and those of contemporary medical providers, and to good luck. She broke a hip on her 95th birthday, received a replacement and walks, but much more carefully. And the luck part, that’s genetics. Her mother held on for 103 years.

When asked about how she feels about entering the age of the centenarian, Anna sat and stroked one of her feline companions, Bushy. "I have to say, the first hundred years was not always so good. I expect it will get easier from now on in." Still sporting a hopeful outlook Anna says, "I think I'll just take it day by day from here on in."

Recount in 32nd Council Special Election

By Patricia Adams

For anyone wondering just how long it will take for Eric Ulrich to begin his role as the new Councilmember of the 32nd District, the answer seems to be still a couple of weeks away. Although preliminary counts show Ulrich as a clear victor, a re-canvassing of approximately 100 voting machines took place on Monday March 2 and was completed by Tuesday.

Ulrich’s closest opponent in the race, Democratic District Leader Lew Simon, who was behind in the original counts by roughly 1,000 votes, still has hopes that a recount will find him at the top of the heap. In fact a call to his office will transfer you by automated attendant to Mr. Simon, who has left behind the following recorded announcement: “I want to thank everyone who came out and voted. The election is still not over so please keep us in your prayers. The election is still not over.”

In an interview with Simon, the district leader has acknowledged that he has not conceded the race because many times things are discovered in the recanvassing process that can turn the direction of things. “Many times, during the mandatory recount,” Simon says things are not done or recorded properly. “We are still awaiting a total count of paper ballots and we are very proud of the showing that we made.”

Monday, Simon says he sent a team of observers to watch over the recanvassing process, which allows for observation by the public, as well as representatives sent by involved candidates. The process is overseen by equal representation from both the Democratic and the Republican parties.

Although there was much banter and speculation as to whether it was Simon who demanded the recount or Ulrich himself served papers for the recanvassing to take place, the fact of the matter is that the recounting of the machines is standard procedure in every election.

According to the Board of Elections, “the preliminary election “results” reported on election night are just that - preliminary.” Valerie Vasquez, the Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the NYC Board of Elections, explained that the process that began on Monday is nothing unusual.

Vasquez says that an election is not certified and no winner is officially declared until every vote is counted. Included in those votes would be a re –canvassing of each machine, and a count of all paper ballots, including those from the military, absentee voters, and handicapped voters. New York State Election law mandates the vote counts before the election results can be certified as the “official” count.

The way the procedure works is that, following the close of polling sites on any election day at 9:00 p.m., the preliminary election results are produced. This is accomplished by poll workers from major parties, Democrat and Republican, opening the machines and manually recording the results for each machine on their tally sheets. The New York City Police Department collects the materials containing these results, compiles them, and enters the information into its computer system for tabulation.

How It Works

After the polls close on election night, poll workers transcribe the number of votes for each candidate from the face of the voting machines onto “Return of Canvass” forms. These poll workers then hand the “Return of Canvass” sheets to the police officer assigned to the polling location. All candidates and members of their respective campaigns are permitted by law to assign poll watchers to observe the poll workers and to record the preliminary results onto their own tally sheets as they are read off by the poll workers.

Once collected, the police officer delivers the “Return of Canvass” sheet to the police precinct. At the police precinct the results are transcribed into its computer system. The computer records are then transmitted to the Associated Press and a copy of each “Return of Canvass” form is delivered to the Associated Press office at 55 Washington Street in Brooklyn. The Associated Press then shares the preliminary results with its colleagues in the news media. These preliminary results, however, do not include the count of any of the varied types of paper ballots.

New York State has one of the most meticulous recanvassing procedures in the country. State Election Law requires the Board of Elections to recanvass every voting machine used in an election within 15 days of the election.

During this process, bipartisan teams of Board of Elections employees record the results for tabulation. As an extra layer of oversight, representatives of all campaigns involved in a particular election are notified of the recanvassing schedule and are invited to monitor the official recanvassing and ensure its accuracy. The absentee and affidavit ballots are then opened and tabulated after staff review. The campaigns are once again invited to monitor the opening and counting of these paper ballots.

Subsequent to the recanvassing the Board of Elections certifies the election result pursuant to and in accordance with the procedures set forth in the applicable portions of New York State Election Law.

Ulrich, who has already made several trips to City Hall, has been involved in meeting with Speaker Christine Quinn and other colleagues. Insiders say it is a little frustrating that he has been given all the paperwork to locate his district offices and put his staff in place but that all that activity is frozen until the election commissioners meet and certify the election officially.

Initial raw data collected from returns show that Ulrich carried all but one polling site on the mainland and that Simon carried the peninsula for the most part. Ulrich’s victory on the mainland amounted to about 64%.

According to campaign spokesman for Ulrich, Bart Haggerty, the results from Monday’s recanvassing efforts were as follows: Ulrich: 3,424; Simon: 2,472; Chapey: 897; and Ricatto: 664

Additional information suggests that there are no more than approximately 300 valid paper ballots which would still have Lew Simon falling far short of what he would need to capture the victory from Ulrich even if he were to take 100% of the paper ballots. Officials say that the paper should be counted by tomorrow, however according to Valerie Velesquez the earliest the Commissioners will certify the election could be as late as March 17th.

Eric Ulrich says he just wants to get on with the business of getting about his work in City Hall and throughout the community. “I think that people deserve representation and that they deserve it now. It is clear that the people have chosen me to be their next city councilman and I will be ready to serve on day one, “Ulrich says. “Paperwork can’t be signed until the commissioners officially certify the election. I hope it will be soon.”

City Renames New Elmhurst Park

Residents Balked at Gas Tank Reference

By Conor Greene

After residents objected to the name Elmhurst Tank Park for the new green space under construction along Grand Avenue, the city has agreed to instead call it Elmhurst Park.

Community Board 4 and members of a local civic group were not happy with the city’s initial name for the park, which was intended to reflect the site’s past as home to the Newtown Gas Holders – commonly known as the Elmhurst Gas Tanks. However, residents didn’t like the idea of commemorating the two hulking structures, which loomed over the nearby expressway until they were dismantled in 1996.

“The Parks Department often gives city parks names that reflect the history of a site,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “However, after hearing concerns of residents in the neighborhood and the Community Board, we changed the name to Elmhurst Park.”

The first phase of the roughly $20 million project was completed last fall, when the park’s footprint was created. Hundreds of trees and shrubs were planted on the six-acre property, and tons of clean fill was imported to create contours on the previously flat land, which is located at 79th Street near the Maspeth-Elmhurst border.

The next phase is expected to go out to bid in the spring and be completed in 2010. It will include a walking path, comfort station, sprinkler area, separate playgrounds for younger and older children and a maintenance house. While the park is intended for passive recreation, it will feature an artificial turf field for informal pickup games.

Richard Italiano, district manager of CB 4, said that both the board and the “surrounding community” at large favored the name change. “The people we spoke with wanted ‘Elmhurst’ in it, but more so, I got the feeling they didn’t like gas tanks or any reference to it,” he said. “Some people who have lived in the area for a long time were saying the tanks weren’t exactly the best neighbors.” He praised the Parks for being open to considering a new name. “I think they went over and above [in terms of] listening to the community,” he said.

Other finalists included Elmhurst Community Park and Elmhurst Memorial Park. Signs informing visitors about the gas tanks – which often served as a landmark on radio traffic reports – will be installed at the park. In addition, crabapple trees will be planted in the rear portion of the site that used to be an orchard, and a Vietnam War memorial is planned for the site.

Now, Italiano’s focus is on “getting the gates open for the public,” hopefully in less than two years. “It’s been a long process. It was a blank piece of property, and it takes a while to get all the infrastructure in there,” he said. “It looks great, but there still are more plantings and buildings to do.”

After Keyspan dismantled the tanks, the company began exploring plans to develop the land and eventually entered into discussions with Home Depot. However, local officials and residents including the Juniper Park Civic Association pushed for a park on the land. In 2005, the city bought the property for one dollar after Mayor Michael Bloomberg intervened. The project is primarily being funded through mayoral and City Council appropriations, according to the Parks Department.

Robert Holden, who as JPCA president was instrumental in getting the land set aside for green space, said he stayed out of the discussions regarding the park’s name. “I think the important fight was saving it from becoming a Home Depot and mall,” he said. “The name game is just that. I’m proud of the JPCA effort to save the park. We worked day and night for months and it was all worth it.”