BY COURTNEY OBENG
Residents of the James A. Bland Houses, a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) building complex, claim they’re suffering from a rat infestation caused by construction of the luxury condo complex SkyView Parc directly across from them on College Point Boulevard in Flushing, Queens.
Rats, rumored to be in the thousands, created burrows under Bland Houses after the construction on the SkyView Parc began. Entrances to these burrows are easily seen and populate the main entrance next to the sidewalk.
Jennifer Johnson, vice president of the Bland Houses Residents Association, said SkyView decreased the quality of life in Flushing.
“The state of health in Flushing declined when SkyView Mall was constructed because rats were released into the neighborhood,” Johnson said. “And SkyView didn’t want to take responsibility in putting out rat poison.”
But residents did. A woman decided to lay rat poison down, but that became a problem because of pets, Johnson said. She also said that she reached out to the Queens Borough President’s office for help last summer, but didn’t have any calls or emails returned.
“We have no record of complaints from Ms. Johnson,” a spokesperson for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz told QNS on Wednesday afternoon.
Bland Houses also suffers from an illegal dumping issue, which worsens the rat infestation. Johnson said videos and pictures of illegal dumping at Bland have been recorded. Among the items dumped are industrial printers and large quantities of papers and magazines.
“When you look at the garbage you can tell it’s not from someone’s home. We have video pictures of people coming out and dumping garbage by us. We don’t get garbage picked up every week. We’re lucky if someone cleans up,” Johnson said.
NYCHA is aware of the rat infestation and illegal dumping, according to representative Aja Worthy-Davis.
“NYCHA previously removed bulk containers as raw garbage that had been accumulating. This undertaking assisted in our efforts in reducing the rodent population,” Worthy-Davis said in an email. “We are continuing the strategic placement of bait stations, treatment of rodents burrows and resident education.”
QNS reached out to Blackstone Group, which owns SkyView Parc, and is awaiting a response.