Gym eyes Ridgewood spot

Grover Cleveland HS teacher, dean and coach Michael Irizarry (l.) says the school's students "are great kids." Photo by Howard Koplowitz
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Community Board 5 heard plans to build a Ridgewood fitness center and gave its approval for the area’s street fairs during its monthly meeting last week.

Josh Rinesmith, a lawyer representing Planet Fitness, which wants to construct a facility at 329 Wyckoff Ave. in Ridgewood, said gyms are part of a category of uses that needs city approval.

Rinesmith said if Planet Fitness gets the go-ahead to build, it would occupy a small portion of the first floor and the entire second floor of 329 Wyckoff Ave. for a total of 17,300 square feet.

The first floor would house the reception area with cardio equipment, weights, nautilus machines and men’s and women’s locker rooms on the second floor.

Rinesmith said the establishment would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that the gym would be especially beneficial to workers at nearby Wyckoff Hospital and others who work odd shifts.

“Planet Fitness tries to make itself accessible and affordable to all members of the community,” he said.

In response to a CB 5 member, Rinesmith said the establishment would not be able to provide parking.

“There’s actually very little parking demand,” he said.

CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri said the location is “one of the worst graffitied spots in the whole district” and the board should ask Planet Fitness to clean up the area.

“We need that kind of commitment before we approve anything,” Arcuri said.

The matter was then turned over to CB 5’s Land Use Committee.

In other business, a teacher, parents and students from Grover Cleveland HS visited the board to raise awareness of its accomplishments. The school is labeled a turn-around school by the city Department of Education.

Michael Irizarry, a teacher, dean and coach at the school, said the students do graffiti removal and are an asset to the community.

“The kids that go to Grover Cleveland are great kids,” Irizarry said.

The board also voted on and approved about a dozen street fairs within CB 5’s borders for the year, although some members were against giving the OK to the four-day Fresh Pond Street Festival, which runs from Sept. 6 through Sept. 9.

A CB 5 member said although the street fair is “entertaini­ng,” it “puts an undue burden on the Ridgewood area,” pointing out that the festival lasts for four days while others within CB 5 only last one.

CB 5 member Peggy O’Kane, who lives near the festival on Fresh Pond Road, said she was “not thrilled with it.

“It is an inconvenience, even during the day,” she said.

Another CB 5 member said the street fair is enjoyed by the majority of the neighborhood, including couples with young children.

“It’s a good thing for the community,” they said.

In the end, CB 5 gave its approval of the fair 30-10 with one abstention.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 12:14 am, February 16, 2012
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