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City mulls move for Corona police precinct

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The city is looking to replace the old 110th Precinct station house with a new facility in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, officials announced Monday. Though plans are in the very early stages, the move would constitute a compromise with Community Board 4's continued requests for a park police precinct.

"It's just in the idea stages of the plan," said Andrew Moesel, a spokesman for City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), "but a lot of the community around there have been calling for a police presence in Flushing Meadows."

Vallone said he supported the proposal but would ask for the new station not to occupy any open park space.

The 110th, which covers Elmhurst and Corona, currently patrols the park, but elected officials have complained the area needs more coverage since a series of violent robberies and beatings in November and December 2006.

The current precinct station house, at 94-41 43rd Ave., was built in 1940 and is situated in a dense residential area, creating parking hazards and other problems.

CB 4 District Manager Richard Italiano has said the 110th Precinct station house is inadequate. The board has been looking for a 17,000-square-foot area to construct a new building, although open space is hard to come by in the district.

Italiano said it was too early to comment on the city's plans.

"The board would have to look at it and see," he said, noting funding for the new station is already guaranteed for the 2011 fiscal year.

A separate police precinct for the park has been a top capital budget priority for CB 4 for about four years, Italiano said.

Other residents were more excited about the possible move.

"Great," said Tom MacKenzie, CB 4's Environmental Committee chairman. "Now we should have a modern precinct where all the policemen can park their cars, hopefully on the roof and not on the green open space."

Talk of moving the 110th Precinct station house dates back to 1984.

"With scores of cars belonging to police officers filling up the block, parking was a severe problem for residents," sociologist Roger Sanjek wrote in his 1998 book about Elmhurst and Corona, "The Future of Us All: Race and Neighborhood Politics in New York."

What began as a petition to build a parking facility for the 110th gained momentum in 1985 when Rose Rothchild, then CB 4's chairwoman, proposed moving the precinct to Corona and using the old building as a school.

The proposal, however, died out.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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