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Editorial: Why not build a Y?

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Elmhurst residents would like to see a community center built on the site where the landmark Keyspan gas tanks stood for so many years. Keyspan would like to make some money by selling the property to developer. A Whitestone developer is interested in constructing a YMCA center on the site but claims that this can only be done is if he is given permission to build a shopping center adjacent to the Y.

No way said the Juniper Park Civic Association, which is not happy about the prospects of having another shopping center in the neighborhood. The civic association favors residential development, but the property can bring much more money with commercial development.

It seems highly unlikely that Juniper Park will get its way. This is privately owned commercial property. The community can let its feelings be known, but it has little leverage.

The mixed-use proposal combining a YMCA with a shopping center appears to be the best possible solution. Elmhurst and Maspeth residents get a state-of-the-art community center and new places to shop and Keyspan makes a reasonable profit.

The civic leaders should realize that this is the best that they can reasonably hope for and should work with the developer to address community concerns.

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