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Bayside’s Grinches Go to Court

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It takes a special kind of group to go to court to stop a hospital from expanding to provide better service to children. As reported last week, a Bayside civic organization is suing St. Mary’s Hospital for Children on the grounds that construction currently underway would subject neighbors of the hospital to noise, truck traffic and dust.

The lawsuit was filed by the Weeks Woodland Association. The Weeks Woodland neighborhood is home to some of the oldest houses in Bayside. So far no one from this association has been willing to speak to the press about the lawsuit.

Anyone connected to this suit should be ashamed. The money used by the hospital to fight this suit is money that will not be available to provide care for sick children.

Jerry Iannece, chairman of Community Board 1, who said the board was unaware of the lawsuit, said the board was creating a community advisory group to broker a discussion between the hospital and its neighbors. The suit will make discussion much more difficult, if not impossible.

A spokesman for City Councilman Dan Halloran said his boss wants to be sure the complaints of the neighbors were being addressed by the hospital. “The councilman is concerned that if they do construction, it’s done the right way. It’s a very residential area and there are homes surrounding the property.

The councilman needs to grow a spine. This is a hospital that provides compassionate and state-of-the-art care for children battling illnesses. On one side are doctors and nurses fighting to save the lives of sick children. On the other is an association of homeowners worried about a little noise and dust penetrating their suburban sanctuary.

Now that this complaint has gone to court, the time for listening to both sides is over. There is no more room for discussion. The hospital has every right to expand.

We believe that most Queens residents who know about St. Mary’s are proud of and grateful for the work it does. They will be happy to know that the hospital is expanding if that means these children and their families will receive even better care. And, like us, they will be annoyed at anyone who tries to stop that from happening.

Updated 6:01 pm, October 10, 2011
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