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Muni Lot 1 home to dozens of junked autos

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It lives in squalor.Still packed in the stale snow banks of a month-old storm, it has no shelter from the elements because its windows have all been smashed out.Snow has collected on its seats and no license plate is visible to trace the car to a human owner.So it sits and waits. For what, Democratic District Leader Terence Park is not really sure.He pointed to the Geo Storm as one of about 21 cars that have been either abandoned in Municipal Lot 1 or confiscated by the 109th Precinct and left in the public lot pending further investigation.With the ratio of cars to parking spots forcing so many drivers to spend several minutes searching for parking in downtown Flushing, Park does not want to see spaces - such as the one the Geo Storm inhabits - go to waste."This little fellow here has got to go," he said at a news conference Friday in the lot, which is situated between 37th and 39th avenues on Union Street. "I want these cars to be removed as soon as possible because they take up our precious parking spaces."Municipal Lot 1 is currently for sale, and the city is reviewing development proposals that could bring a retail and residential complex to the centrally located lot. On several occasions public officials have made it known to the city that any new development must leave room for the same number of public parking spaces that currently exist in the lot -- 1,100 to be exact.But until that sale is finalized, Park wants the 109th Precinct to take responsibility for the cars that have been seized and taken to the lot for further crime investigations."Some of these cars are parked so inappropriately it takes up two parking spaces," Park said. "As we all know, parking spaces are very sparse in Flushing."Fellow community activist Donald Henton and a representative from the office of Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) joined Park for the press conference and tour of the lot.In addition to the junked Geo Storm there were two smashed Toyota Corollas, a Nissan Maxima in decent condition, an intact Plymouth Voyager and a barely distinguishable E-class Mercedes that clearly was the wreckage from a serious accident.Most of the cars had police and 109th Precinct-specific stickers on them.Commanding Officer Thomas Cea of the 109th Precinct said his officers were working on relocating the cars to impound lots. Some of them would need a district attorney's release since they are the subject of a criminal investigation."I wasn't happy when I found out," Cea said. He was surprised to learn that as many as 20 cars were languishing in the municipal lot. Park said when he first toured the lot after being told of the situation by a constituent last month, he found 11 abandoned cars. On Friday, he counted 21 junked cars in the municipal lot Ð 20 of which had police stickers on them."It has accumulated as time goes on," Park said. "It's becoming worse."Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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