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The Civic Scene: Can’t ‘they’ let our residential areas be?

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About 400 people crowded into an auditorium in Hillcrest Jewish Center recently to protest a proposal by the city to build a baseball stadium for a minor league Mets team on the St. John's campus.

This proposal materialized suddenly a few weeks ago with the New York City Economic Development Corporation providing the money to rebuild the current St. John's stadium and then letting them keep it after the Mets team moves to a permanent stadium, supposedly in Coney Island.

When will "they" understand that people moved into quiet residential communities in Queens County and want to keep them that way?

People bought into a certain type of a zoned area, although they didn't realize that it was zoned a certain way.

Most of Fresh Meadows and surrounding areas are zoned R2 for one-family homes. People saw one-family homes and parks and houses of worship and schools and wanted that quality of life to continue.

Residents in the civic associations surrounding St. John's University had lived with some inconvenience for decades but with new grandiose plans, more buildings are being built and more students are being added on the campus.

Although the university told the Hillcrest Estates Civic Association that a number of students were suspended and others expelled, the homeowners and renters are unhappy at what the students did that caused them to be punished.

This stadium, with additional stands planned (although some will be removed when and if the Mets leave), is really annoying the people of the Jamaica Estates Association, the Flushing Heights Association, the Hillcrest Estates Civic and the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic, and others. This meeting, which attracted so many people, is only the first of a number of actions.

It is sad that "they" make plans for Fresh Meadows without even asking the community for its input prior to making the announcements. About 35 years ago, "they" had some money and wanted to build a swimming pool in Cunningham Park. Over the years, "they" wanted to build a motor bicycle track, a sanitation garage and then an ice skating rink building in Cunningham Park.

While "they" had all these plans, "they" did not put the money into the park to keep it from deteriorating, due to the increased number of people who were now using it.

"They" wanted to build a grand prix auto racing track in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

"They" did manage to build a tennis stadium in Flushing Meadows Park but the park is very big and it does not seem to impact on the surrounding community, which has few nearby homes.

"They" have been trying to build megastores in various communities and some have even been built, but in commercial areas where they do not impact on residences.

It is sad that "they" have not rebuilt Arverne in Far Rockaway, which was torn down 30 years ago and left vacant and not yielding any real estate taxes for all these years.

Why don't "they" rebuild Rockaway instead of annoying the quiet residential neighborhoods?

As people learn more about this stadium proposal, they become more annoyed. People are incredulous that the city will spend $5 million or $6 million to rebuild the stadium for the Mets and then give it to St. John's for nothing.

Senator Frank Padavan is especially angry because he and Assemblyman Mark Weprin negotiated a deal that would have given the school 10 acres of the Creedmoor property and a stadium that is there now. Padavan is one person I would not want to cross.

I must make a correction. I said, in error, in my Feb. 3 column, that Senator Padavan and Jeff Gottlieb would write to the Army Reserves to get them to move from the St. John's property prior to the end of the lease in 2006.

They actually wrote to the school on another topic.

Perhaps Senator Padavan can negotiate a settlement. I will always remember and recount how 20 years ago he negotiated away the proposal that "they" had to have full-value 100 percent assessment for our homes. We shall see what happens now. Hopefully "they" will leave us alone.

GOOD AND BAD NEWS

OF THE WEEK:

It seems that the quick spraying of malathion last summer to kill the mosquitoes was not such a good idea because now "they" are saying malathion is toxic.

If "they" don't get you one way, "they" will get you another way. Perhaps we should give everyone baseballs to throw at the mosquitoes.

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