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NYHQ lot plans irks Flushing residents

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During those years, she gave birth to and raised four sons, who have since grown up and moved out, leaving Solano and her husband to enjoy the golden years of their retirement and a house full of pleasant memories.Her colonial-style home is located in a prime Flushing location, one block from Main Street and close to all amenities: the New York Hospital Queens is only a block away and downtown Flushing is a short walk down Main Street, but Solano said a new construction project by the hospital threatens to ruin the quality of life she has enjoyed for so many years.Late last year, the hospital announced its intentions to expand and add another wing to its facilities. As part of that expansion, the hospital plans to build a three-story parking garage with a capacity for 372 cars on the westernmost side of 141st Street, mere feet from Solano's backyard."I've never heard of a garage being built right in the middle of a residential neighborhood," Solano said outside her home last week. "This will affect everything, our quality of life, our sunlight."Solano stood outside the future construction site last week with several like-minded neighbors and members of the Coalition to Preserve Queensborough Hill, a group that formed to fight the project, who all said the residential neighborhood is not built to carry the hundreds of cars the parking lot would bring when both sides of the streets are already lined with parked automobiles."The trucks come up and down the street all the time and they can hardly make the turn," Solano said.The hospital currently is clearing land within Kissena Corridor Park to make room for a temporary parking lot to be replaced with parkland once the expansion is completed.Solano said within the past two years, the hospital has made numerous offers to buy her house, which has an administration building abutting the other side of it on the corner of 58th Avenue.But at each offer, Solano said she was not interested."We put a new roof up and we just got a new boiler two years ago," she said. "I told them no."Hospital spokesman Paul Pickard said the facility will continue to speak with neighbors about the construction in an effort to address their concerns."I understand she has lived there for quite some time and this is a serious inconvenience to her," Pickard said. "It's not the same as a small private home next to her. We want to do anything we can to make this a less negative experience for her and will talk with her as long as she's willing to talk with us."The west side of 141st Street is a short block containing a row of single-family homes. All of them are owned by the hospital, except Solano's home.Her neighbors say Solano's resolve is reminiscent of a time roughly 20 years ago when Macy's built a parking lot in Elmhurst, but had to alter its plans after a resident steadfastly refused to sell.Pickard, however, said the hospital still intends to proceed with the parking facility's construction, but the groundbreaking will not come before an environmental impact study is done to measure traffic concerns.Solano said despite the discouraging news, she is determined to keep her home."There's very little that anybody can do," said Solano. "All we can do is fight." Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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