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Queens Borough President Helen Marshall approved a Police Department plan last month to use a vacant building in Long Island City to store thousands of barriers designed for crowd control at parades and other public events, Marshalls office said.
The move comes over vocal objections by members of Community Board 2.
According to the borough presidents recommendation, the NYPD will lease 105,000 square feet (all but 10,000 square feet) of the old Thypin Steel building at 49-49 30th St. in the Hunters Point area for a period of 20 years.
The barrier shop will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with 25 permanent employees present daily. Up to 100 employees will work at the facility in preparation for special events such as the Thanksgiving Day parade.
The shop operates out of a warehouse on Manhattans Pier 40, but it is leaving that site to make way for park development along the Hudson River. The department has been searching for a new site for the past 10 years.
Marshall approved the move July 17 despite a 38-0 vote, with one abstention by Community Board 2 in June opposing the resolution. Community Board 2 covers Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside.
Joe Conley, the vice chairman of the community board, said the neighborhood was overburdened with city agencies and especially police facilities. He said the barrier shop would be operated by the NYPD in the area, citing the repair shops on Laurel Hill Boulevard and 58th Street as evidence that the department would disrupt the lives of residents.
They park all over the place; cars are left on sidewalks, people cant get out of driveways, Conley said.
He also said that leasing the space to a government agency was bad economics for the city since it deprived the neighborhood of much-needed commercial revenues.
Dan Andrews, a spokesman for the borough president, said Marshall was sympathetic with area residents.
We recognize the communitys concerns, he said, noting that Marshall had extracted specific promises from the Police Department as to the upkeep of the building, the exact number of parking spaces allotted to it and the precise number of trucks that would be coming and going.
Based on all considerations ... it was decided that with the qualifiers in place the Police Department would be a good neighbor, Andrews said.
Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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