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Baysiders repeat calls to City Hall to abandon high school proposal

Bayside residents and state Senator Tony Avella held another protest rally Saturday against a proposed high school at the defunct Bayside Jewish Center.
Photo by Brooke Smith

BY BROOKE SMITH

They won’t be ignored.

For the fifth time this year, Bayside civic leaders rallied outside the former Bayside Jewish Center on Saturday calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to strike down a plan to build a high school there.

At least 80 residents joined state Senator Tony Avella at the rally in front of the defunct center located on 203rd Street at 32nd Avenue to once again show they were fed up with the School Construction Authority’s (SCA) push for the project despite their opposition.

Attendees held up protest signs, one of which read, “We have a high school in Bayside. Building a new high school three blocks from Bayside High School will be a disaster! 32nd Avenue is already overcrowded. Adding more pedestrians, buses and cars is very dangerous.”

The proposal is already opposed by Avella, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, City Councilman Paul Vallone and Congresswoman Grace Meng. At Saturday’s rally, Avella called on the mayor to intervene and end the proposal altogether.

“You campaigned in our neighborhoods. You campaigned on having community involvement and more transparency,” he said. “Throughout this entire process it’s been the reverse. Well, now you have the chance to do the right thing and in effect do what you campaigned upon.”

Protesters at the rally made it known that they will not go quietly.

“Our neighborhood always seems to be last and least,” said Community Board 11 member Janet McEneaney. “People seem to think that we will accept anything. We have finally come together to say that’s not so. Whoever made this idea to have a 1,000-student high school must have never been here and knows nothing about this community.”

Residents want the current proposal struck down, but they also called for a real discussion about the community’s educational needs.  They also called upon the SCA to revamp its site selection process.

“The mayor should seriously consider our stance and the size of our coalition opposing this proposal. In addition, the mayor should already see how the SCA operates in ignorance to the communities for which it purportedly seeks to help,” said Chadney Spencer, president of the Northwest Bayside Civic Association.

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