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Queens Chronicle

Maspeth firehouse gets CB 5 support

Board backs building’s landmark designation; worries about shelter

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Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:19 am, Thu Oct 24, 2013.

The efforts to get the Maspeth Firehouse designated as a landmark now have even more community support.

On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 first responders from the home of FDNY’s Squad 288 and Hazardous Materials Company 1, perished at the World Trade Center, more than any other firehouse in the city. Steve Fisher of Middle Village and his sister Maxine Fisher wish to memorialize both the firehouse’s place in the city’s history and the building’s centennial next year, but were recently turned down by the Landmarks Preservation Commission because of a legal benchmark.

That decision has hardly put an end to their efforts.

After the Fishers met with Community Board 5’s Zoning and Land Use Committe the previous night, CB 5 voted unanimously last Wednesday to petition the Landmarks Preservation Commission to waive the “30-year rule.”

This rule requires that 30 years must pass before an event is deemed historically significant. Because the 9/11 attacks happened only 12 years ago, the request for landmark status was denied, as the attacks have not yet cleared the LPC’s benchmark.

The firehouse, which has been home to Squad 288 since 1914, is located at 59-29 68 St., and has already received landmarking support from multiple area leaders and businesses. Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), Robert Holden, the president of the Juniper Park Civic Association and Ken Rudzewick, the president and CEO of Maspeth Federal Savings bank, all back the firehouse’s landmark campaign.

“You can see One World Trade Center from the firehouse,” Steve Fisher told CB 5’s Zoning and Land Use Committee last Tuesday. “There is a clear emotional connection there that must be recognized.”

The next step for the Fishers is getting letters from various area elected officials supporting their efforts to have the 30-year rule waived by the LPC. The landmark process is expected to take months.

Also touched upon during CB 5’s meeting was a proposed homeless shelter in Glendale. The vacant 105,000-square-foot former factory at 78-16 Cooper Ave. would house up to 125 families, but there are environmental concerns regarding the building, as it has been closed for over 20 years.

Homeless Services is still reviewing the project, but CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano wasted no time in expressing his concerns regarding the area’s already overcrowded schools as well as the economics of the project.

“It would be too astronomical of a cost to renovate the building for residential reasons,” Giordano said. “It would be the dopiest thing the city of New York has done in my lifetime.”

Other issues covered in the meeting include:

night collection of garbage will commence around Veterans Day in anticipation of future snow removal;

the Civilian Observation Patrol’s golf outing on Oct. 21;

Tuesday’s ribbon cutting at the Ridgewood Reservoir; and

LaGuardia Community College’s Young Adult Internship Program.

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