According to the listing on Good Choice Realty's Web site, the asking price for the farm is now $6 million, up from $5.5 million last week. The Internet listing stated that the site would be a "perfect location for school or church," but made no mention of the fact the farm lies in a special preservation district.City Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis) organized a rally Sunday to call for the preservation of the farm. Weprin said he would submit a request for evaluation of the property to the Landmarks Preservation Commission this week, in hopes of getting the entire property designated a landmark."Klein Farm is a visible piece of Queens' history. This farm was in business before Queens was incorporated into New York City," Weprin said. "It is a reminder of where Queens once was and is a constant reminder of how far Queens has come."The site was originally 200 acres and purchased at $18 per acre for a total of $3,600 in 1895 by Adam and Catherine Klein. It was a working farm that sold seasonal produce from a roadside stand up until 2003, when the last two acres were sold to Audrey Realty for $4.3 million.Audrey Realty is owned by members of the Huang family, of which developer Tommy Huang was convicted of a felony in 1999 for a 1996 oil spill in the basement of the landmarked RKO Keith's Theater in Flushing, which he bought in 1986.The siting of the Klein Farm in a preservation district would mean that no building or alterations would be done on the structures on the lot.Last November, the city Buildings Department fined Audrey Realty $2,500 for work done without a permit in the basement of 194-15 73rd Ave. to install a shower, toilet and sink. A hearing was scheduled for Jan. 22 and a compliance date of Feb. 27 to obtain permits for the work, but no money had been paid toward the fine as of Tuesday.City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who chairs the Council's Environmental Protection Committee, called the precarious position of the farm an example of northeast Queens' landscape being threatened."We should protect Klein Farm not just for its historical value but also for the precious open green space it provides," he said.One idea for the site is to use it for educational purposes, and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) is a proponent of using it to beef up Bowne High School's programs."Queens is fortunate to have a farm museum, and this site can only enhance the experience," she said. "Bowne High School has an outstanding agricultural program for which Klein Farm could be an open laboratory."Gennaro seconded the idea."Bowne High School has a water buffalo," he said. "Maybe we can get water buffaloes on 73rd Avenue."Fresh Meadows resident Amy Goldman said she went to the farm stand on the last day before it closed."Truth be told, most people who worked at the farm stand were kind of surly," she said. "But it was good. They had good apples. I would rather see them here."Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodo
©2008 Community News Group
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