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Queens Chronicle

Activists want site in Maspeth cleaned up

Juniper Civic has been after the city to take action on eyesore for years

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Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:46 pm, Thu Nov 17, 2011.

The Juniper Park Civic Association is still livid over an abandoned construction site that has been plaguing Maspeth neighborhood for over a decade. The property has been called an eyesore by community activists for more than a decade, and they are calling on the city to do something about it. Those calls, they say, have just been ignored.

The site is visible going westbound on the Long Island Expressway service road and is right next to the Midway Nursing Home. According to CB 5, the address for the lot is 70-25 and 70-27 Queens Midtown Expressway.

It stretches about 50 to 60 feet in length and is surrounded by a wooden fence that has been defaced by graffiti. Inside, there is no evidence of anything being built. A Dumpster has been placed squarely in the middle of the lot. Right next to the Dumpster is a children’s toy car and a shopping cart placed inside it. Pieces of discarded wooden furniture have been thrown on the side, along with a mattress that is covered with a white sheet.

The only building materials that are visible are stacks of cinderblocks. No permits or addresses are visible on the fence.

Bob Holden, president of the association, has been leading the call for the city to take some action on the site.

“This property has been an eyesore since the 1990s,” Holden stated. “The city refuses to do anything about it.”

The lot has been bothersome enough to be given the distinction of being one of the top five eyesores in the area numerous times by the group’s magazine.

Holden said that he had previously showed then-Assistant Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and was told that something would be done. No action was taken.

Holden wants to see the fence gone and the site cleaned up immediately.

“The construction fence should be taken down,” Holden said. “The property should be cleaned and not used as a storage area.”

Another member of the group, Manny Caruana, is also angry about the lot. Caruana lives nearby.

“It’s not a good way to welcome people to our community,” he said.

Caruana also was critical of the city’s response to the complaints raised.

“The city allows this to happen. They don’t look at whether a contractor can begin a project and has the money to finish the project,” he said. “The community has to suffer the consequences.”

Caruana said he would’ve liked to just have the construction go forward, but now he just wants it to be cleaned up.

Department of Buildings spokesman Ryan Fitzgibbon said that the property belongs to Prime Design Realty, a real estate company in New Jersey. She also said that the permits that were issued in March 2006 for the lot expired in August 2007.

A complaint was made to the DOB last week about the site and Fitzgibbon said that the lot will be investigated and appropriate action taken. The property owner could not be reached.

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