Let’s see if we got this straight: The whole reason for the multibillion-dollar renovation of Willets Point was that the area to the east of Citi Field had become an eyesore. The scrap metal and other businesses made the area look like, well, a junkyard.
Now we learn that a decision has been made to relocate some of these businesses to the College Point Corporate Park. The junkyard will be located just to the south of the NYPD tow lot at 31st Avenue and College Point Boulevard.
For the families that live in College Point, a community that was once the land that time forgot, their worst nightmare is about to come true. Speaking for these residents, Community Board 7 gave its approval to the development of the College Point Corporate Park because it was promised only offices and light industry would be allowed in the park.
No one imagined the city would be relocating a salvage yard just blocks away from the homes where families have lived for generations. Borough President Helen Marshall and CB 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty were among the seven members of the Queens Borough Board who voted in favor of the plan.
Kelty said he was “75 percent happy” with the idea of putting a junkyard near these homes. The good news is that 25 percent of his brain is still working.
Over the past 20 years, the people of College Point have endured major changes. For many the charm of this middle-class community was directly related to the fact that it was out of the way with one road in and one road out.
First a major shopping strip was built on 20th Avenue, bringing in traffic from all over Queens. The city then decided to put the NYPD tow pound and build a new police academy in the area. Now, for better or worse, College Point is on the map. But when the city decided to relocate the junkyards from Willets Point, it broke a promise to the people of College Point.
We remain in favor of the plans to redevelop Willets Point. It makes sense for many reasons. Most importantly, it will create jobs. But the plan to dump the dump in College Point is wrong. Tell the city Economic Development Corp. to find a more suitable location.