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Queens Chronicle

Meadow Park OK’d for expansion plan

Community Board 8 takes action on old Queens Hospital building

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:30 am

The expansion of the Meadow Park Rehabilitation Center, the removal of the T-Building at Queens Hospital Center and the state of the water supply were a few of the items on the agenda for last week’s Community Board 8 meeting.

Residents started the meeting with the public participation, where a number of locals raised concerns about a 12-story hotel to be built at 61-27 186 St., in a residential neighborhood. [See separate story.]

Among the participants in the public portion was Joan Hausmann of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association, who asked for the board’s help in stopping the project, which will be built “as of right,” meaning it does not need variances to proceed.

“You can be sure they will look for parking on the narrow two-way street, which at the present time is so congested with the overflow cars from the Fresh Meadows development, and the people parking for the express bus,” Hausmann said.

Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) attended the meeting, saying a few words as the area’s new city lawmaker. He informed attendees that the budget process would be delayed a few weeks in an effort to let new Mayor de Blasio get oriented.

Lancman also announced his office is now open at the corner of 164th Street and Union Turnpike.

As part of an effort to keep the board up to date with the United States Tennis Association, Danny Zausner, chief operating officer, described its activities at the Flushing Meadows Park stadiums.

Zausner noted various events designed specifically for Queens groups, and added that schools are welcome to discuss hosting affordable graduations on stadium grounds.

“We are going to stay actively committed,” he told the board.

After a quick overview of the Zoning Committee’s hearing for the Meadow Park Rehabilitation Center at 78-10 164 St. in Fresh Meadows, board members voted 26-2 in favor of the nursing home expansion. Jordan Most, an attorney working for the nursing home, reiterated the goal of the project.

“The purpose is to build a bigger facility,” Most said. “There are two, three, four to a room, sometimes four, five, six to a bathroom. The building will now have all two-bedrooms.”

The 143 beds will remain the same and a parking lot for 15 cars will be added.

In response to a request from state Sen.Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) to support their backing of a plan to demolish the 75-year-old T-Building at Queens Hospital Center, the board voted 25-1 with two abstentions.

The hospital had wanted to replace the derelict building with a 251-unit residential building for low-income residents with chronic health conditions. There has been some opposition from area residents, and it appears the hospital has dropped the plan.

Jim Gallagher, a CB 8 member, said the building in Jamaica is filled with asbestos and would be very expensive to renovate.

A resolution was also put in place to prevent Jamaica High School from closing. The city is phasing it out and replacing it with new schools in the same building.

Board member Kevin Forrestal gave a brief update on the Department of Environmental Protection proposal to mitigate the loss of water supply because of the year-long Delaware Aqueduct repair project.

He said the water quality had been tested and is safe, though he reached out to a scientist for an independent opinion.

Welcome to the discussion.