A former Woodhaven church is being renovated and will reopen as a day care center for children with developmental disabilities.
Christ Congregational Church at 85-27 91 St. has been closed for several years and is now being renovated by a Nassau County-based group called Kings Point High.
David Esfhani, a representative of the developer, said the center, called the North Side School, will serve children with developmental disabilities from the Woodhaven area between the ages of 2 and 6.
Construction has been moving along and Esfhani said they are working to acquire their certificate of occupancy and relevant licenses by the fall.
“We hope to be open and operational by September,” Esfhani said. “The paperwork is harder than the actual construction.”
The church has been closed for several years. Some residents expressed concern earlier this year when a number of trees along 85th Road next to the church were torn down last month.
“It’s a good investment in the neighborhood,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, who lives next door to the church.
He said the church has been vacant for almost a year and even before that, has not had a regular congregation for decades.
Wendell added that he and other neighbors were concerned when the trees were cut down, so he contacted Esfhani and asked him what was going on.
“I wanted to reach out as a neighbor and let them know who I was,” he said. “It is much better than an apartment building.”
Esfhani said he is also involved with plans to open a charter school in the neighborhood. The school would be located in a warehouse on 76th Street and Jamaica Avenue on the Brooklyn border known locally as “the lobster building,” because a company once sold lobsters wholesale there. Those plans are in the early stages, he said.