One former lawmaker and one current one both deny they knew of plans by a nonprofit group to put two looming nine-story apartment towers on the site of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village, near the Bellerose border.
Former state Sen. Frank Padavan and City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), both supported the Indian Cultural and Community Center when it purchased two parcels of land at the site, approximately 4.5 acres, in 2008, which the group said it would use to build a community center, athletic field and parking lot.
But now the group’s plans have changed and it has lost the political backing of Weprin and Padavan that it once had.
The ICCC is seeking to purchase another six acres in order to build two nine-story apartment towers, which they told the community would be affordable residences for seniors. “I don’t know anything about that,” Padavan told the Chronicle Tuesday. “That happened after my tenure.”
Padavan said that representatives of the ICCC told him they planned to build a community and youth center. When asked if he supported the new plan, Padavan replied, “The area is not zoned for it,” adding “I am not in office anymore. I have nothing to do with this.”
Former Assemblyman and now City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) admits that he received a small campaign donation from the ICCC president, Koshy Thomas, but denied that it had influenced him to support the initial plan. When asked if he favors the apartment towers, a plan he said he only learned of recently, Weprin said he does not. He believes affordable housing for seniors is needed in the area, but not on the large scale that the ICCC is proposing.
The lawmaker also denied an accusation by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who replaced Padavan, that he pushed him to back legislation supporting the second deal.