Keep Iron Triangle property use only for area businesses

By Bob Harris

The front of the September 2011 Bayside Hills Civic Association newsletter told of the group’s plans to have special activities at its annual 9/11 observance on the 10th anniversary. It obtained two pieces of World Trade Center steel from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. It was an appropriate activity by the civic.

President Beverly McDermott of the Kissena Park Civic Association wrote in the group’s September 2011 newsletter about its Sept. 7 candlelight vigil to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks. The monument to the event, which had been in storage during renovation in the park, was returned to its rightful place. A floral arrangement was placed at the site.

Vice President Dr. Carsten Glaeser of the Kissena Park Civic wrote a page about a public hearing related to the city Economic Development Corp.’s plan to build a new city on the 65 acres of the Iron Triangle in Willets Point.

When this project was first proposed years ago, this column was against the proposal of the government to use eminent domain to take private property in the Iron Triangle for use by private business corporations to “improve the area.”

Glaeser wrote of the current concerns of Bayside and Flushing residents of the “known quality-of-life issues that already exist in this town from noise and air pollution, overcrowding in the streets and schools, garbage, filth and stench generated in commercial downtown Flushing and the mother of all quality-of-life issues, vehicle and truck traffic and pollution ….”

He wrote of the concerns about the independence and accuracy of the studies which support the proposed construction, which were made by residents who testified at the latest hearing. It seems our business-oriented City Hall, wants a rebuilt Willets Point.

The March/April 2011 issue of the Jamaica Estates Association bulletin had an article titled “The Disappearing Lawns of Jamaica Estates.” The bulletin wants people to know of the zoning rules governing what people can or cannot build on their property. People cannot cover their whole yard with cement or bricks because it prevents the absorption of water into the ground.

People must leave some grass and flower beds so water can seep into the ground and not flood neighboring properties. To learn more, call Community Board 8 at 718-264-7895. To maintain our quality of life, watch what is being built around your home. If you believe someone is building illegally, call CB 8 or 311 and report the situation.

The Jamaica Estates Civic Association paid tribute to Dr. Barry Weinberg, who recently died. This columnist worked with Barry for over 30 years. He toiled tirelessly for his community as president and chairman of the board of his civic. I remember his frustration with the inability of the DOB to stop illegal conversions. I remember sitting in his basement with other civic leaders as we tried to convince the city Buildings commissioner to act stronger on our complaints. Some things have improved, but much has not.

GOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK: A few weeks ago, President Barack Obama awarded retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, 23, of Kentucky, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

He and another Marine, who were members of a training squad, drove into an ambush in Afghanistan to rescue trapped 36 American and Afghani soldiers. He left the relative safety of the vehicle he was in to help the wounded and retrieve the bodies of men who had fallen.

BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: The 10-year anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone. There were ceremonies, speeches and lots of photos, but there still is not a nationwide emergency radio system. The 9/11 Commission had recommended that such a nationwide system be created so emergency workers could talk to each other across city and state network borders.

In a natural emergency or terrorist attack, it is important that first responders be able to share information. It is proposed that money to pay for this system could come from a broadband auction. It is interesting that some people say the federal government is too big and does too much.