Author Topic: Garden School Play Yard  (Read 49455 times)

Offline bellabella

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2010, 01:05:57 PM »
I have to agree with Queens Kid Although I am opposed to another monstrosity to be built- especially because I live right there, I do not own this property nor would I want someone telling me what to do with my property.  I also think eminent domain is ridiculous. I've lived in JH a long time and in the recent years have heard about them wanting to take the car place and rainbowland etc. This is their livelihood. 

Offline lmaniace

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2010, 04:58:51 PM »
Just to clarify the situation of the Garden School and the effort to turn the athletic field into park space - as I understand it. I believe that neither Councilman Dromm's office nor other space advocates want to that jeopardize the existence of the Garden School. If the school has no other resources to pay off the loan coming due in January, it seems to face two choices, finding someone who is willing to buy the land, or find some sort of a bridge loan that will allow it to pay off its debt until the city is able to purchase the athletic field New York City park space. As I understand the situation, Councilman Dromm's office and other open space advocates, such as myself, hope the Garden School will remain open to the possibility of a bridge loan. No one is questioning the Garden School's right to use its property.

The desire to see additional park space in Jackson Heights comes from the fact that the neighborthood is one of the most underserved in tghe ciyt when it comes to park space, and the need for additional park space was cited as the leading issue in approximately 15 outreach sessions conducted during the Green Agenda for Jackson Heights.

Offline ECG

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2010, 05:21:47 PM »
Many postings on this subject but what are the sources of information, aside from newspaper articles and Len's posting of the loan information.

No one is doubting - (a) the need for green space (b) the desire for an alternative to public or parochial education (c) the lack of enthusiasm for another 6 story building on the area and (d) the school's and city's financial problems.

Take a deep breath folks.


Offline Queenskid

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2010, 06:19:17 PM »
It's not a matter of deep breaths.  The tone of some of these postings would be appropriate if this were public land and the City was selling it out from under the community.  But this is not public land.  The school is trying to survive yet some posters seem to be questioning their motives and integrity.  I've lived here my whole life--55 years come tomorrow.  We always lament the downfall of the mom and pop stores that were institutions in this neighborhood.  I would hate to see a school which has served this community for decades suffer that same fate.  I don't like to see them cast as villians just because they are trying to stay alive.  Open space is a wonderful thing, but the advocates don't win any friends with this approach.

Offline taggie

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2010, 09:47:00 PM »
Thank you Queenskid and Bellabella for your support of Gardens School's efforts to stay alive and thrive in Jackson Heights.
It's nice to know that there are voices of reason in this less than perfect situation for all of us. As for livelihoods, the school's
payroll has 78 people on it and these are jobs that are treasured by many of the staff. A number of them walk to work and
have given up larger paychecks for the quality experience that they have at Garden School. Yes, it's that good. The people
who work there, the teachers and staff, are beloved. They are kind, generous instructors and guardians of our children.
They wish as much as anyone for green space but the harsh realities of being an independent school in Queens where the monies do not flow into the coffers or endowment as easily as say a Manhattan school is that funds are tight now. The sale of the field is not anyone's first choice but if it ensures the present and future of this terrific school, like Queenskid said, so be it. To insure that
this school thrives, we should be encouraging people to see why there is so much passion about keeping this school going till
it's 100 year anniversary (in 13yrs) and beyond, here in lovely Jackson Heights. Come to an Open House if you're curious on
a Wednesday at 9:00. From the custodial staff to the cafeteria workers to the school nurse and the various teachers and
administrators, you will see how they work together to make the school a fine educational experience.
 And fingers crossed for the city to get money soonest...

PS- Happy Birthday Queenskid and am glad you stayed put. Cheers to many more for you!

Offline lmaniace

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2010, 05:22:46 PM »
Sounds to me we are pretty much on the same page then, Taggie. The people I'm working with want The Garden School to stay in business and are trying to work out an arrangement that is acceptable to the school. All the best.

Offline willsweeney

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2010, 12:01:46 PM »
City eyes school lot for park
Sale by Garden School would allow expansion of Travers: Dromm

by Rebecca Henely 12/09/10
http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2010/12/09/queens/qns_travers_park_expansion_20101209.txt


City officials are interested in buying the concrete yard next to the Garden School for parkland, but the school is interested in selling as soon as possible. Photo by Rebecca Henely

City officials have raised much of the money to purchase a concrete yard next to a Jackson Heights private school for a park, but the school may decide it needs the money now and look elsewhere.

“Right now we’re in a race against the clock about them opening up the sale to a possible developer vs. going through the process of the city,” said City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights).

Dromm’s office has secured $4 million and Borough President Helen Marshall has $1 million to buy land from the Garden School, a private institution at 33-16 79th St. in Jackson Heights. The Garden School is selling the yard for $5.75 million.

“The idea is that we can then extend Travers Park,” Dromm said, referring to the 2-acre park on 34th Avenue between 78th and 79th streets, across the street from the Garden School.

Officials from the Garden School did not respond to calls for comment.

Dromm said he had been working with the Garden School’s board and headmaster, Dr. Richard Marotta, to purchase the land and had been dealing with the city Department of Parks and the city Department of Design and Construction to speed the process along.

But Dromm said school officials had told him the school is in financial straits and needs to sell the land soon.

“They did not inform us of the immediacy,” Dromm said.

The councilman said he believes selling the land to the city would be best for both the people of Jackson Heights — an area which has the second smallest amount of park space in the city — and the school, whose students would still have use of the park during school hours. He said selling it for development would also decrease the value of the school not only financially, but would be a detriment to the students.

“The Garden School is a valuable asset to Jackson Heights,” Dromm said.

The councilman said he was also unsure whether selling to a developer would get money for the school more quickly. He said the city was about a month into the seven-to-eight month process of buying the land.

Ed Westley of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group said he was surprised by the school’s rush to sell the land since he had thought the talks between the city and school were going well.

Offline lmaniace

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2010, 12:17:40 PM »
     Councilman Dromm raises a good point about the likelihood of a faster payment from the city than from a private developer. Developers typically pay for the land only after a series of approvals are in hand, something that could take 18 months. Otherwise they could turn out to own a lot of land that has no use for them.
     We should all wish him luck in reaching a mutually beneficial agreement on the sale of the land to the city. Jackson Heights will not get another similar opportunity.

Offline willsweeney

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2010, 02:22:44 PM »
Correction: The Garden School is listing the property for $5.25m.

Here is a link to the official listing: http://www.masseyknakal.com/listings/detail.aspx?lst=19893

Offline willsweeney

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #39 on: December 10, 2010, 08:07:09 AM »
I want to clear up something that has been confusing. The City has the money right now. The monies were allocated as of July 1st, 2010 in the City Council Capital budget.

However, any time the City purchases land it has to go through a process known as ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure). ULURP is an established and mandated time frame within which application review must take place to allow for the public to understand and respond the proposed land use change. It takes a minimum of 6 months to complete. It usually includes an environmental review, Community Board hearings, and City Council hearings. To read more about ULURP,   http://tinyurl.com/ulurp

The money is there now -- it is the ULURP process that requires additional time. But so does selling to a developer. If the Garden School sells the land to a developer, the developer must wait 6 months for the tax lot subdivision.

Offline taggie

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #40 on: December 10, 2010, 01:36:15 PM »
Meetings on this sale have been going on since April with city officials as I understand, and I think, some people from the JH green
group. That's 8 months ago and if the money from the city is already here, as had been the rumor for awhile now, what is the
hold up on behalf of the city getting this study underway? Is there anyone to contact in city government to help things along?
I seem to remember things moved swiftly with the city when the renovated Tweed courthouse was shifted from the Museum of
the City of New York to Mayor Bloomberg for the Dept of Ed. use.

Offline Jack Heights

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #41 on: December 10, 2010, 03:49:45 PM »
Hi Everyone, long time lurker, first time poster.

The dis-information on this thread is what has insprired me to finally jump in to the conversation.

Taggie - The Tweed Courthouse was an existing property owned by the City of New York. The transfer of ownership was from one city agency to another. There was no sale of privately owned land for public use as is the case with the Garden School yard.

If the city has been slower in its process than usual for these things, perhaps it's becasue there's some doubts that the Garden School's true intention was to sell the land to the city in the first place. If they were in negotiations with the city why did they post the land for sale publicly? Why should the city invest time and resources in to a sale that looks as if it won't go through?

Our city doesn't always do things right, but in this instance, it appears to me they are not the ones fouling up this deal and ultimately our neighborhood.

Offline taggie

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #42 on: December 10, 2010, 06:26:13 PM »
 To the previous poster, not to get to far off track but of course, the Tweed deal was city to city. Of course. I hoped that it was
inferred that the red tape in converting a courthouse to a museum and to a school facility was at a fast pace as opposed to this process. The surveys and such that seem to be holding up the city's ability to go forward here might be subject to staffs with
budget cuts and so forth. Who knows? I think you may also have missed the post where I stated that the school did go to the city
first and ultimately really wishes it to happen this way. But as also been posted, a long time institution with so much fondness in the neighborhood, Garden needs to keep the school going with appropriation of assets it owns and that are private property. Other
private schools in the neighborhood like McClancey H.S and Lexington School for the Deaf also have athletic fields (much bigger and
with grass!) and they may one day parcel off to tighten their belts as well. But I hope not. It's tough times all over.
 Do you have any experience with waiting on the city to close real estate deals? I have none and am only wondering how long this usually takes? What do you know that makes you think this won't happen? I feel that it's very likely. Am also wondering why the news is so recent on this site that the city has had this money since July 1st. Why was this info not more public on this topic?

Offline cookie01031958

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2010, 06:59:50 PM »
Right you are Taggie, why don't we look at other open space in the neighborhood. Like the Queens Savings bank on Northern and 77th street, they have an awfully big parking lot. And also, I realized I never see more than a few cars in that parking lot. It's like wasted space. Why can they sell that land real cheap to the Parks Dept so the neighborhood can use it as green space. It's right across the street from Travers park. We can put some benches there and there some extra space for the community. Better yet they can donate the space. And what about all those beautiful gardens in the landmarked coop buildings why don't they open those of for community use. Why should Garden school be the only one being harrassed.

Offline ECG

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2010, 07:21:20 PM »
The people who live in the coops have paid a lot of money, monies they have earned, to have the privilege to enjoy their green space as a quiet refuge. Yes, this is a privilege. Why should they open it?

The bank does have open space, but has anyone approached them?

Garden School has made a well thought out decision to offer this land for sale. Yes, they seem to need the money, but why bring in other areas of the neighborhood as potential areas for green space?

The focus is here, on the potential sale of the lot at 33-16 79th St. Not any others.


Jackson Heights Life

Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2010, 07:21:20 PM »