Concerned residents in Ozone Park will be getting together next week to mull over potential plans to improve a controversial pedestrian plaza there after several complaints of it taking up valuable parking spaces nearby.
Community Board 9 announced a special summer meeting for next Thursday, Aug. 21, where all stakeholders can get together and discuss various fixes to the plaza at Drew Street, 101st Avenue and Liberty Avenue, which the board voted in support of back at its October 2013 meeting.
“When Community Board 9 voted in favor of the pedestrian plaza, we did so with the understanding that we would monitor the plaza’s local impacts and keep an eye on whether it remained an asset to the community,” CB 9 Chairman Ralph Gonzalez said. “With this meeting, we hope to give all sides of this discussion a seat at the table, and we are aiming to arrive at the best resolution possible.”
The meeting, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at room 213 of Queens Borough Hall, will include Transportation Department Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall as a mediator and representatives from the Bangladesh American Community Development and Youth Services Corporation, which has long pushed for the creation of the plaza. Business owners from the surrounding area will also be invited, CB 9 said.
Every board member at the October 2013 meeting approved the pedestrian plaza, except for one individual who abstained. That meeting drew somewhat mixed reviews, with some residents expressing worries over how it might affect cleanliness, crime and traffic.
The 102nd Precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner, said at the October meeting that he had some concerns about the plaza and how it might affect crime – but they were quickly squashed after speaking to planning officials.
“I don’t think it will have that much of an adverse impact on crime,” Sautner said last year. “Anything that will help with local businesses and beautiful, I support…If it does pass, it will certainly be on our radar.”
The Bangladeshi American Community Development & Youth Service originally applied for the plaza just along the border of Queens and Brooklyn earlier that year. Since the meeting, the plaza was home to sitting benches and planters separating the space from nearby vehicles.
By Phil Corso