Glendale Laments Myrtle Ave. Woes
Closed storefronts and trash along Myrtle Avenue and the recent demise of a local house of worship were hot topics at the Glendale Property Owners Association’s (GPOA) meeting last Thursday night, Feb. 7, at St. Pancras Pfeifer Hall.
Brian Dooley, GPOA president, started a conversation about deteriorating conditions on the Myrtle Avenue shopping strip, particularly between 71st Street and Woodhaven Boulevard, where many storefronts have been vacant for months.
“We’ve seen a lot of businesses fail there,” Dooley said, noting that area residents have been shopping outside of the community rather than patronizing local businesses. “It’s difficult if people are not shopping locally.”
Part of the problem, one resident claimed, is the condition of Myrtle Avenue itself. The attendee stated that the sidewalk and street are “filled with garbage” on a constant basis. She called for increased street cleaning in the area, as well as enforcement operations by the Sanitation Department against nearby residents who illegally deposit household waste in public receptacles.
One local business owner in attendance agreed, explaining that garbage quickly accumulates in front of his storefront hours after sweeping up the sidewalk. As a result, he noted that he is subjected to regular fines of up to $200 from Sanitation Department enforcement.
“I can’t afford to pay $200 a day, and we clean the sidewalk,” he said.
Vincent Arcuri, chairperson of Community Board 5, stated that the advisory body has been pushing the Sanitation Department to increase trash pickups along Myrtle Avenue. The agency, he claimed, is reluctant to do that, as it may encourage more dumping; moreover, he noted, the agency is considering removing the trash baskets entirely.
Part of Myrtle Avenue is cleaned “every day” by Sanitation Department street sweepers, but Arcuri noted that the board has yet to receive a request by resident for expanded cleaning on the strip in the eastern end of Glendale.
“We don’t have one request of alternate side parking on Myrtle Avenue east of 71st Street,” he said. “No one has asked for it.”
Dorie Figliola of Assemblyman Mike Miller’s office added that the legislator has encouraged Glendale businesses to participate in the DSNY’s “adopt-a-basket” program. Under the initiative, storeowners agree to regularly remove full bags of garbage from a nearby public trash basket and replace them with new bags provided by the agency. Even so, the trash cans remain full on a constant basis.
Dooley concluded that the problem boils down to a lack of enforcement. “They’re writing laws by the minute, but there’s no enforcement of the existing laws,” he said.
Speaking about the number of failed business on Myrtle Avenue, Arcuri suggested that business owners are struggling or going under due to higher taxes and rents.
The board chairperson floated the idea of Glendale merchants pushing for an extension of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) in Ridgewood in order to receive supplemental sanitation pickups and other services. However, he conceded that many business owners may not welcome paying the required additional fees.
Arcuri hoped that the Glendale Chamber of Commerce-which, he stated, is in the process of being “reconstituted”- will spearhead an effort to revitalize business along Myrtle Avenue in eastern Glendale once it is ready.
“Until we figure out a solution, we need to keep the trash backets and expand pickups on Myrtle Avenue,” he added.
The Glendale Reformed Church, located on 64th Place off Cooper Avenue in the Liberty Park section of the neighborhood, has closed its doors, according to Thomas Murawski, president of the Liberty Park Home Owners Association (LPHOA).
Murawski stated that the house of worship was recently shuttered after their congregation dwindled. The LPHOA, which had rented the church basement for its quarterly meetings, was informed that their next session in March would be held at another location.
Residents speculated that the church would likely be put on the market by the Reformed Church in America’s New York diocese, which owns the property.
According to statistics provided by the Reformed Church in America, Glendale Reformed’s congregation dwindled from 52 in 2006 to just seven four years later.
Charter school on the horizon
Students and teachers are wanted for the inaugural class of the Middle Village Preparatory Charter School, which will open its doors on the campus of Christ the King Regional High School this September, according to Deborah Kueber, one of the school’s trustees.
The charter school for children in grades six through eight is being incorporated within an unused wing of the high school located on Metropolitan Avenue and will have separate facilities, Kueber stated. Middle Village Prep will open this year with an inaugural sixth-grade class with a maximum of 120 students. Identical sixth-grade classes will be added over the next two years.
As with other charter schools, students must apply to be entered into a lottery to gain a seat, Kueber noted. The lottery for Middle Village Prep is open to all 2,600 incoming sixthgraders residing within the confines of School District 24.
She added that the charter school day begins at 7 a.m. with breakfast and ends at around 4 p.m. daily. The day and school year itself are generally longer than those set by the city Department of Education at its public schools. Tuition is free.
For additional information, visit www.middlevillageprep.org.
Dooley informed residents that the civic group will be holding a special membership drive at their March meeting in order to boost their ranks. Fliers will be distributed door-to-door around Glendale to get local residents to come out and join the organization.
Rob Roman of Liberty Health Advantage gave an overview of the health management organization (HMO) which is one of the approved Medicare advantage plans. Under law, all Medicare recipients must sign up for an advantage plan by 2014; any recipient who does not register with an HMO will have one selected for them.
The Liberty Health Advantage plan, Roman explained, “fits every senior’s budget,” with no co-payments for visits to participating physicians, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, dental care, vision care and also medical transportation benefits. The plan also includes up to $20,000 in coverage for emergency care received outside of New York.
Figliola announced that the Glendale Community Garden on 88th Street near 74th Avenue will be holding an Earth Day event on Apr. 20 with the support of the Kiwanis Club of Glendale and the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council.
Those who have questions-or are seeking information-about their city property taxes were invited by Dori Ann Pliska of City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley’s office to attend a special information session behind held by the legislator and the Department of Finance on Thursday, Feb. 21. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at P.S./I.S. 113, located at 78-23 87th St. in Glendale.
The next Glendale Property Owners Association meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday night, Mar. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Pancras Pfeifer Hall, located at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 68th Street.