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Point of View: Trash transfer station bad idea for Flushing

Flushing is a fast-growing metropolis in its own right, with a large population of new immigrants and a good deal of oriental food stores, restaurants and renovated shops that have brightened its image as a booming commercial center in New York City.

Main Street has been repaved, and the terminal of Subway No. 7 is perhaps the cleanest in the city and the busiest outside Manhattan. So Flushing residents have every reason to take pride in the downtown development, and some merchants even have set their sights on the west corner of the town to expand the commercial landscape.

However, recent action by the city and state might have shattered hopes for a greater Flushing. This issue is now on the minds of many Flushing residents as the deadline to open up a garbage-transfer station is approaching. They have learned to their surprise that garbage from other parts of the city is to be dumped near their premises.

I don’t understand the motive for creating such a station across from an area originally proposed for beautification. And Flushing is a densely populated town. Residents and Mets game-goers would hardly be able to escape the stench from piles of trash during the summer; it could turn out to be a hotbed breeding all kinds of diseases.

In early 1999, the state and the city decided to build a transfer station at 34th Avenue and 127th Street near Shea Stadium. A few Asian community leaders were told then and again last August about this, but city officials apparently failed to tell local business people and residents the whole story. They thought it was very hard to challenge a state decision.. Many angry Asian merchants and residents said they were kept in the dark about the project. They said they would hold the community leaders there responsible for the seemingly irreversible decision.

In August, a state agency placed an ad about the projects, but the announcement drew little reaction or opposition because few Asians could afford to spare time finding the ad in an English-language paper. To some, English is a foreign language.

If the garbage project takes effect in April as planned, it will certainly lower the quality of life of Flushing’s Asian community. So about 30 ethnic groups, including the Chinese, Indian and Korean communities, have taken swift action to form the Flushing Environmental Reclamation Committee.

In the meantime, the alliance has launched a campaign to get residents to sign a petition outside the Flushing Library and submit it to the state and city agencies. On Sunday, more than 5,000 local residents, including two candidates for the City Council, responded to the petition . They vowed to fight to stop the project. A large-scale rally was scheduled for Feb. 18. But their action might be too late.

If the project opens as scheduled, 500 tons of garbage will be trucked daily to that spot. This would worsen Flushing’s traffic and its environment and , of course, tarnish its image as a prosperous town. And many fear that the temporary station is here to stay.

It was reported that it may take the city authorities four to six years to map a long-term plan to scrap the transfer station and move all the Queens refuse out by water to a private facility in Linden, N.J.

That doesn’t sound very temporary, does it?

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