2000-12-09 / Front Page

Public Hearing For Proposed School By John C. McLoughin

Public Hearing For Proposed School
By John C. McLoughin

There will be a public hearing regarding a proposed new school for Far Rockaway at the next Community Board 14 meeting on Tuesday, December 12.

Last week The Wave reported that the New York City Board of Education and the School Construction Authority have plans to build a 704-seat elementary school, PS 253, at 1295 Central avenue.

With the recent surge of new housing on the peninsula, Community School District 27 identified overcrowding of schools on the east end of Rockaway as a major concern.

The proposed Central avenue site, formerly the Far Rockaway Jewish Center, was chosen after extensive research into the needs of the community. Other sites considered for this project included:

  • Beach 39 street and Rockaway Beach boulevard: This city-owned site will be used to build an elementary school if additional funding becomes available. It would accommodate an increase in student population that is anticipated to occur as a result of a 700-unit housing development currently planned for the Edgemere area.
  • 168-90 Beach 101 street: A feasibility study concluded that this site is appropriate for a 650-seat elementary school, however, a decision was made not to acquire this site because it is not in an area of need for District 27.
  • Beach 9 street and Central avenue: This vacant site is approximately 17,000 square feet in size and irregular in shape. It is not large enough to build a 650-seat elementary school with adequate outdoor recreational space.
  • Seagirt boulevard and Fernside place: This vacant lot is approximately 22,000 square feet in size and irregular in shape. It is not large enough to accommodate a 650-seat elementary school.
  • Far Rockaway boulevard and Bay 32 street: This 62,000 square foot vacant lot is large enough to build a school, however, a decision was made not to acquire this site because it is adjacent to an elevated train; surrounded by numerous vacant lots; and is not in an area of great need for District 27.

Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, said Central avenue is a "busy street," but doesn’t foresee other problems with the proposed school.

"Maybe some parking issues, some safety concerns," Gaska said, "but it’ll be worked out."

Residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed school at a public hearing, to be held on Tuesday, December 12, 7:45 p.m., at the American Legion Hall, 301 Beach 92 street. Those who intend to speak must sign-in prior to the start of the meeting.

If approved by Community Board 14, the plans for the school will go before the New York City Council for approval, which is more or less a rubber stamp process.

The anticipated date of completion and occupancy is September 2003.


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