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Flushing lot undeveloped property waiting for plan

The downtown Flushing property, where a 1,100-space parking deck is located, has been open for development proposals since early February. The city Economic Development Corp. is handling the development of the parcel.

The meeting at the Sheraton LaGuardia East in Flushing was organized by Liu (D-Flushing), Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and Grodenchik (D-Flushing), who publicly requested that the city stay within the zoning parameters for the property and maintain the number of parking spots on the lot, off Union Street between 37th and 39th avenues.

"We will not tolerate a reduction in parking spaces on that lot," Liu said.

He and the other two officials said last month they hoped a national chain book store and youth center could be built on the property without jeopardizing its capacity for parking in downtown Flushing.

Roeme Kim, director of the YHCA on Parsons Boulevard, said she supports the idea of a youth center on the site.

"There are youth that are constantly seeking a safe environment in working toward their future," she said. "What we do on a daily basis is to do our best to accommodate the youth."

She said in order to build the kind of community in which Flushing residents want to live, the city should make creating youth space a priority.

Rena McGreevy of Flushing's YMCA said her organization also has programs for the community's younger generation and would like to see that effort spread to downtown Flushing when the property is developed.

"Our YMCA serves over 14,000 children," she said. "It is a daily struggle for space. I'm here to support public space, especially for youth and teen programs."

Few community members offered new ideas for the site, but many suggested ways to accommodate the development of the parcel within the context of the growth throughout Flushing.

"We cannot just look at one area and solve the problem alone," said Wellington Chen, a consultant to F&T development firm in downtown Flushing.

"Transportation, parking - traffic is a major, major issue for this community," he said. "We seem to have a concentration of parking in one spot."

He suggested the community form a transit management agency that could meet monthly to devise proposed solutions to parking downtown. Adding parking on the perimeter of Flushing, he said, would make more sense than within the downtown area.

"The solution is not really to double up on this parking lot," Chen said.

Grodenchik said he believes that with meetings such as last Thursday's, the community can let developers know what will be accepted in downtown Flushing.

"As many people said, this is a continuation of a dialogue that started years ago," he said. "It has to be done properly. It has to meet the needs of this community."

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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