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Queens Chronicle

Parkway Hospital site continues to frustrate

Borough president and area civics still stumped over building’s future

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Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 1:47 am, Thu Feb 13, 2014.

It may be a new year with a new city government, but change apparently is not coming to the former Parkway Hospital site anytime soon, according to two area civic leaders and the Borough President’s Office.

The land containing the vacant building at 70-35 113th St. in Forest Hills has been the subject of complaints and frustration since it closed in 2008.

The lack of progress regarding any possible renovation and reuse of the abandoned hospital continues to aggravate Community Board 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio.

“I’m just as upset with it as everyone else is. People are calling the office about it. It’s just a horrible site,” Gulluscio said. “Nothing has changed. I’m in the dark here.”

Gulluscio, who met with Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) late last week about the site, says no action regarding the building has taken place or is scheduled to any time soon.

He will be meeting with Borough President Melinda Katz “within the next few days,” but Gulluscio isn’t optimistic about the site’s future.

“I can’t speak for the borough president but we know that everything is at a standstill,” he said. “I’m hoping maybe she can help in some way.”

Unfortunately for Gulluscio and upset residents, Katz’s ability to help is limited.

What happens with the location is in the hands of Parkway Hospital Associates, the listed owners of the building whom elected officials and civic leaders have been unable to contact, according to Katz spokesman Michael Scholl.

“We have looked into the property extensively. No applications, variances or ULURPs have been filed,” Scholl said, referring to the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure. “We have no indication as to what the future of the building will be.

“Until the owners come forward and decide what they want to do with the property,” he continued, “it’s really more of a wait-and-see process.”

Forest Hills Civic Association President Barbara Stuchinski shares Gulluscio’s concerns, calling the building an “eyesore.”

“As of now, nothing is on the drawing board,” Stuchinski said. “I haven’t seen any proposals, any ideas, or anyone being interested, nothing. It should be removed or renovated.”

Gulluscio still believes that a senior center would be a viable use for the abandoned former hospital, considering the large population of seniors in Forest Hills.

When contacted by the Chronicle last week for her thoughts on legalizing some illegal basement apartments, Stuchinski believed that the vacant building could be a source of affordable housing.

She also maintains that a senior center could be a feasible idea for the site, in agreement with Gulluscio.

Graffiti has recently besieged the site as well, with Gulluscio calling it “unsightly.” According to Scholl, there is nothing the city can do to combat it, either.

“We know there has been a problem with graffiti, but before the city can send in its graffiti team to clean everything up, we have to get permission from the owner to allow us to do so,” he said. “We’ve reached out but the community board hasn’t got a response yet.”

Before the hospital shut its doors for good, Dr. Robert Aquino, its former CEO, tried to keep the hospital open by bribing former state Sen. Carl Kruger, leading to both men being sentenced to prison time in 2012.

Welcome to the discussion.