Author Topic: Garden School Play Yard  (Read 49454 times)

Online toddg

  • Moderator
  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 4017
  • Lived here since: 2002
Garden School Play Yard
« on: November 18, 2010, 03:03:00 PM »
Apparently the Garden School is trying to sell part of its yard:
http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/16714283/33-16-79th-Street-Jackson-Heights-NY/

Does anybody know anything about this?  If this lot were to be developed, it would be a huge lost opportunity for the neighborhood to expand its public open space.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 09:19:43 PM by toddg »

Offline bellabella

  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 736
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 06:38:17 PM »
WOWWW!!! For a school that wants over $15000 a year in tuition now they want to sell what little (not maintained) school yard space they have????  Whats going on here???

Offline ShinjukuBaby

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 256
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 02:30:34 AM »
Please, please, please let this become a public park!

Offline ECG

  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 1177
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 09:01:56 AM »
Yes, becoming a public park would be a wonderful idea, but with the city and country financially strapped I don't see this happening.

Offline erospolitico

  • Activist
  • *****
  • Posts: 210
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2010, 11:04:38 AM »
Massey Knaksel has it listed for $5,250,000, quite a hefty asking price.

I hear that the NYC Parks Dept. is interested but:

1) doubt that they will pay that price

2) NYC can't afford to buy space these days

Offline Beech Court

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 294
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2010, 11:46:53 AM »
If I can dream....

That parcel could be the start of a real green space for the neighborhood, JH Common or MacDougall Park? And if the school is in trouble financially what about the future of the rest of their land?

With a supposed population of 70,574 in JH the asking price comes out to $75 per resident.
Or should we buy 70,574 lottery tickets and make a wish?

We need a hero.
I also channel Gladys Gilbert!

Offline Mike V

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 260
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2010, 12:20:08 PM »
If we could squeeze some serious dollars out of the City, I would much prefer to see a Jackson Heights Community Theatre
that would be used 365 days a year.  With declining membership the Jewish Community Center could one day be a possibility.  Think of all the possibilities - concerts, opera, film festivals, plays, dance groups, jazz, programs for children, etc.   We have so much talent living in Jackson Heights that would happily contribute and put on performances.   Your thoughts on a Community Theatre?   

Online toddg

  • Moderator
  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 4017
  • Lived here since: 2002
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2010, 10:55:31 PM »
Lack of financing from the city does not appear to be the problem.  NYC's 2011 capital budget has $4 million available for Travers Park expansion (secured by Danny Dromm), and the Borough President's office has promised an additional million.  I've also heard that the Community Board has written to the school asking them to sell it to the Parks Dept.  So it appears that our various public officials are on top of this.  Rather, the problem seems to be that the Garden School won't wait to give the city the time it needs to complete the purchase.  

Does anybody here know people close with the Garden School who might have a sense of what is going on here?  If the city can purchase the property, it would be be a win-win for the school and the neighborhood by keeping this land as open space.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 12:37:47 AM by toddg »

Offline ShinjukuBaby

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 256
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2010, 01:11:17 AM »
What is this sudden rush on the part of the Garden School?  Wouldn't they much rather have a park next to the school than some (probably cheap and crappily built) new apartment building shoehorned into that spot?

Bravo to Dromm and other leaders who are working on this.  Let's make it happen!

Offline FoxyWiles

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 432
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2010, 01:42:36 AM »
They should put a garden there!

Offline taggie

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 473
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2010, 01:36:12 PM »
The Garden School, as far as I know, would be happy for the city to buy it. And from what I heard that was the incentive to put it up
for sale anyway. The school is fairly sound financially though they would love a more substantial building as this one has alot of additions tacked on to a smaller main building. As far as independent schools go, the tuition is relatively cheap. The next nearest similar school in Forest Hills is $5,000.more a year in tuition and Manhattan/Brooklyn indies are often $30,000.+. But more than that, the school wishes to be a good partner to the community and though I am not privy to the discussion, I think they are wanting the city to act on it and are
really trying to make it go that way. The playground across the street was revamped twice in last 8-10 years so there must be some
kind of funding somewhere. And my thinking is the Garden School would then use the Travers playground which is less used in the
day and the community would have something - community center?- in the play area of Garden School. I think the Playstreet closing may have forced the issue of use of available land in a good way for all. As far as I know, the idea of selling it straight to a developer is
not their intention at all. The two properties on 34th avenue across from IS230 are apparently owned by the city now and have not
been really worked on in a couple of years. I know they paid a hefty price there. One is leveled and one still has a home on it.

Online toddg

  • Moderator
  • Mayor
  • *******
  • Posts: 4017
  • Lived here since: 2002
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2010, 11:26:53 PM »
Taggie,

Either the property is for sale on the open market, or it isn't.  The Garden School knows that the city needs time to purchase the land -- the money isn't even budgeted until 2011.  If the school is negotiating in good faith with the city, it shouldn't simultaneously be offering the property up to developers.  No private developer who buys that space would be using it for a community-oriented purpose.  It sounds much more likely to me that the Garden School is trying to cash out quickly and we'll end up with another apartment building. 
 
But you sound knowledgeable about the situation.  What gives you confidence that they are really taking the long view on this, and that the community is likely to end up with "something" in the Garden School play yard?   

Offline taggie

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 473
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2010, 09:56:18 AM »
The sale of real estate to the city is not something I am knowledgeable about. My own experiences in private real estate
have taken much longer than anticipated, always. So if there are monies available in 2011 and it's the tail end of 2010,
it seems likely this will transact when the funds are freed up. Is there a way to put something on the market and hope
that the buyer you want is able to work it out perfectly- in this case the city? I don't know. But I think a good use of energy
now would be to say what is the best plan for this space community-wise and in detail to be able to come forward with those
plans soonest. I know that the Green Agenda folks have asked this question before and the answers were varied as to whose needs  would be best met with community spaces. Parents of younger kids are often the best mobilized and connected politically but that
may or may not be the highest need and/or best use of precious space here in JH. I am by nature an optimist but also
have not heard or seen any indication of selling out on the part of the decision makers at Garden School. They have been
through thick and thin with 80+years in Jackson Heights and as far as I can see hope to make it continue well into the future.

Offline willsweeney

  • Activist
  • *****
  • Posts: 200
  • WILL SWEENEY
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2010, 12:37:24 PM »
New York Daily News

Long fight may pay off as city's urged to get lot for green space in Jackson Heights
BY CLARE TRAPASSO  - Sunday, November 28, 2010   

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/JHPark

A growing community in western Queens could get the additional park land that local families and advocates have long been fighting for - if the city acts fast.

The city is looking into purchasing the yard of a Jackson Heights private school that just happens to sit across the street from Travers Park.

But officials are worried the city won't be able to come up with the $5.25 million needed to secure the Garden School's 20,000-square-foot property before a developer snatches up the prime real estate.

"This is an ideal location and it would be a dream come true for the community if we could make this happen," said City Councilman Daniel Dromm. "Jackson Heights is in desperate need of additional park space."

The Jackson Heights Democrat has championed the fight for more open space in the neighborhood, which has one of the lowest acreages of green space per capita, according to the Parks Department.

Dromm secured $4 million in Council funds to buy the property. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall is ready to kick in an additional $1 million.

The price of the property is still under negotiation, said Mark Daly, a spokesman for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Even once that's settled, it could take up to two more years to go through the steps to acquire the property, he said.

But the Garden School is in financial straits, said Marshall's spokesman Dan Andrews, and is looking to unload the land as soon as possible.

"The school ... is maybe looking to the open market to sell it quicker," he said. "But we're still very hopeful we have a shot."

Michael Rakosi, vice president of the 87-year-old school's board of trustees, said the nursery-through-12th-grade institution would prefer to sell the land to the city. This way it could remain an open space, he said.

"The question is do they have the money?" Rakoski said. In the meantime, "We're continuing to work with everybody."

Local park advocates remain hopeful.

Dudley Stewart, president of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance, would like to see the yard become an extension of Travers Park. The properties could be linked by turning a summer-only play street next to the park into a permanent pedestrian plaza, he said.

"This would be just wonderful for everybody," said Stewart, whose son learned to ride a bike on the play street.

The community had fought to transform an empty stretch of 78th St., from Northern Blvd. to 34th Ave., into a neighborhood space where children could kick around soccer balls while seniors socialized. The play street was open every day from July 1 through Aug. 31 this year.

One proposal that might sweeten the pot is a playground-sharing deal the city is looking into, a Parks Department official said. This would allow the school to use the land during the day and then open it up to the public once classes are over.

But if all else fails, city officials said they haven't ruled out eminent domain. There has been talk in the community of acquiring the land housing a Toyota dealership that lies behind the park.

Dromm said he hopes it doesn't have to come to that.

"I'm hopeful that we'll be able to work this out," Dromm said of buying the Garden School yard. "We have a lot of young families in the neighborhood that need park space for their children to be able to go play."


http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2010/11/28/2010-11-28_buy_us_this_yard_citys_urged_to_get_lot_for_green_space_in_jackson_heights.html#ixzz16bEqK26X
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2010/11/28/2010-11-28_buy_us_this_yard_citys_urged_to_get_lot_for_green_space_in_jackson_heights.html#ixzz16bEmQJNO

Offline FoxyWiles

  • Council Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 432
Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2010, 02:38:53 PM »
IF the city does obtain it, does that mean there will be grass? Since they redid Traver's I feel creepy sitting there since I don't have a kid.

Also, a pedestrian plaza where Play Street is sounds awesome.

Jackson Heights Life

Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2010, 02:38:53 PM »