The parking lot is slated to be used by New York Hospital Queens while a five-story expansion wing and parking garage for the facility is constructed on Booth Memorial Avenue.The lot is under construction in the park despite cries of protest from area civic associations and residents who say they were not given adequate input about a project that could leave an negative environmental impact.The deal struck between the hospital and the city Parks Department requires the hospital to enter a three-year "temporary use" agreement with the agency for a fee of about $23,000, funds that will be redirected toward use within the CB 7 district, Lewandowski said.She said concerns that the temporary parking lot will leave traces of pollutants behind are ill- founded because of the use of material called "Item Four," a material that chief engineer John Natoli said is nothing more than crushed concrete often used as a base material in permanent pathways."We refer to this as recycled concrete," he said. "It's used as a temporary base to travel over and could be removed without much expense and as long as it's not pulverized, this is allowed by New York City and state regulations."He added that the material is easily removed and environmentally safe and that due to the nature of the use, it is not subject to an environmental impact statement."This is an area where we felt there was an opportunity to begin a restoration of the corridor because at the end of this, the hospital is responsible to do a restoration based on our specifications," Lewandowski said. After three years, restoration will begin to restore the park to its original condition, Lewandowski said.However, CB7 Chairman Eugene Kelty said residents have been suspicious of the hospital's motives from the start."Everybody believes that when the three years are up the hospital's going to put in a bid to buy the property," he said. "The concern is there's going to be contamination from cars (by that time)."Lewandowski said the Parks Department "has no intention of getting rid of this property." In response to the inadequate communication with area civics, Lewandowski took the blame."I'll take the fault for not having any conversations on that," she said.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@times
©2006 Community News Group
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