Junkyard site in Ridgewood could become animal shelter and care center, if toxins are removed from soil

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A former auto junkyard in Ridgewood is slated for environmental remediations to make room for an animal shelter to match the needs of Animal Care and Control of New York City, according to a state Department of Environmental Conservation bulletin.

As legislation sponsored by Councilman Paul Vallone in the city has passed in recent years to establish an animal shelter in Queens and the Bronx, the 151 Woodward Ave. site could be a drop off and care center for animals if the government is able to erase the stains of petrochemicals and toxic metals such as mercury from the lot.

“For decades, the Vallones have fought to make full service animal shelters a reality for Queens and the Bronx. Last year’s legislation finally put us on the right course and now, we are taking the final steps to seeing a full-service animal shelter in Queens become a reality,” Vallone said. “Having animal shelters in every borough reflects our belief that all animals should be protected and given the opportunity to find a home. The greatest city in the world deserves the greatest shelters in the world and this will be a legacy we can be proud of.”

While the site has gone from being housing and restaurants as early as 1902, it has made the evolution to purely commercial use as the first half of the 20th century wore on finally becoming a wrecking yard in 1962 which it still is today, according to the DEC.

The site is listed under the Brownfield Cleanup Program which incentivizes the private sector to complete remediations of locations in exchange for tax benefits for their redevelopment, especially in economically blighted communities, according to the DEC.

DEC boring samples showed the soil and groundwater contained petroleum-related volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), copper, mercury, arsenic, lead and magnesium among dozens of other chemical and metal compounds.

Vallone has advocated for full-service animal shelters in Queens and the Bronx for years, having drafted and passed Intro 401-A which was signed into law in June by Mayor Bill de Blasio and mandates that shelters be placed in each of these boroughs.

DEC said there is a copy of the application, the Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan and other documents available to the public for review at the Queens Library of Ridgewood.

Animal Care Centers has not yet returned a request for comment.

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