With the potential of another Fresh Pond Road street festival looming overhead, members of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) are fighting back to prevent this year’s street fair from happening.
The organization has asked members to write letters to Michael P. Casey, executive director of the City of New York’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management, requesting that they not permit the four-day street festival from taking place this year, which is scheduled for Sept. 8 to 11.
For the second year in a row, Community Board 5 (CB 5) has voted against the festival by a 27 to 8 count, during their last public meeting in February. Even with CB 5’s vote against the approval of the festival’s permit last year, the mayor’s office granted approval of the festival.
“Those of you who live between Forest Avenue up to Traffic Avenue, we need your letters to go to [Casey],” said Paul Kerzner, president of RPOCA. “It is very important that we get volume because one of the reasons that we found out that the mayor’s office granted them their application last year … because they didn’t hear from the community.”
John Maier, RPOCA vice president, drafted a letter to Casey, pointing out 20 reasons as to why CB 5 voted to oppose the event.
One major problem with the festival is that it shuts down a portion of Fresh Pond Road, between Menahan and Woodbine streets. Fresh Pond Road is one of the only north-south routes in Ridgewood, so closing down a section of it puts a burden on the community.
Fresh Pond Road is also a major bus route, having both limited and local Q58 service as well as the express QM24 and QM25 buses. RPOCA contends that previous festivals have created problems with the buses and sees no reason why this year’s would be any different.
The letter also cites a variety of crime issues that have taken place at the festival in prior years, including a shooting on Gates Avenue in 2008 where a man was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
“We are also following up … with contacts [Senator Joseph] Addabbo, [Assemblyman Andrew] Hevesi, [Assemblywoman Cathy] Nolan, [Assemblyman Mike] Miller, and [Councilwoman Elizabeth] Crowley,” Kerzner said. “We are asking all of them to send letters of support on our behalf. I don’t expect any of them not to support us.”