Paul Vallone, the Democratic nominee for the 19th City Council District, was joined by Waterside Estates Homeowners Association President Debra Markell, Kim and Marilyn Cody, Kevin Shields and various community leaders and residents in Whitestone to voice widespread community opposition after the School Construction Authority was observed surveying the Whitestone Jewels site located on 150th Street near Fifth Avenue.
“We the people must be allowed a greater say in any and all development that is planned for our district, and that means more than an empty and hollow ‘comment period’ that goes largely ignored. Yet the School Construction Authority barges into our backyard with its unilateral site selection powers and without any real regard for the will of the community. We must set a precedent for getting all sides together at the negotiating table and truly taking the voice of local residents into account,” Vallone said.
Vallone also noted that the unwanted school construction in Whitestone was just one of the pressing community concerns that have fallen by the wayside since Councilmember Daniel J. Halloran was arrested on corruption charges back in April.
“This is just one of many quality of life issues that are threatening to slip through the cracks because we do not have a councilmember who is capable of responding to the concerns of this community,” Vallone said. “The frustration is palpable and the people of Northeast Queens deserve better. We need proactive and cooperative leadership at the helm that will not let critical quality of life matters linger. We need a councilmember who will demand and deliver our fair share. That is precisely what I will bring to the 19th City Council seat.”
Vallone and others made clear that they remain committed to seeing through the 26th School District’s need for a new high school, but only in a location that suits the community.
Markell said, “While there is certainly a need for more schools in Queens, the Whitestone Jewels property is an inappropriate location. It simply does not offer the infrastructure and transportation options necessary for the development of a new school.”
See full article at Queens Gazette.