2006-12-08 / Community

Health And Hospitals Corporation Postpones Vote On Neponsit Home Site

By Howard Schwach


Patricia Lockhart, right, the HHC's Secretary, at the Rockaway meeting with Richard Levy, the corporation's General Counsel. Lockhart told The Wave that the Neponsit Home issue will not be on the agenda at the December 14 meeting.Patricia Lockhart, right, the HHC's Secretary, at the Rockaway meeting with Richard Levy, the corporation's General Counsel. Lockhart told The Wave that the Neponsit Home issue will not be on the agenda at the December 14 meeting. After a contentious public hearing in Rockaway last month, the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation has indefinitely postponed a December vote concerning the future of the former Neponsit Health Care Center site.

The hearing was held to listen to the public's comments on a plan for the HHC to turn the property over to New York City, opening the former hospital site to development of luxury homes.

At that hearing, Charlynn Goins, the HHC chairperson, said that a vote on turning the property over to the city, the first step in the process, would take place on December 14.

On Monday, however, Senior Vice President for Community Health and Intergovernmental Relations LaRay Brown called Democratic District Leader Lew Simon, one of the major opponents of the city's plan, to advise him that the vote would be postponed "indefinitely."

More than 100 Rockaway residents attended the HHC hearing.More than 100 Rockaway residents attended the HHC hearing. That news was confirmed to The Wave by Patricia Lockhart, the Secretary to HHC Corporation.

""I have not seen the agenda [for the December 14 meeting], but it is more than likely that the vote has been put off," Lockhart said. More than fifteen local residents spoke at the November 28 meeting.

With the exception of two, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Neponsit Homeowners President Peter Salmon, all were opposed to placing luxury housing on the Neponsit site.

The great majority of those who spoke asked not for housing, but for a new school to be built on the beachfront site. At least two of the speakers wanted a public school, but others believe the site perfect for a branch of the City University system.

Perhaps the most unique suggestion, one that drew cheers from the crowd, came from Kevin Boyle, who asked that the site be used for both a technical college and as a rehabilitation space for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq.

At the meeting, Simon and other called for the corporation to postpone the December vote. He was joined by a number of other locals in that request.

Now, the HHC has granted that request. "I'm glad that the HHC finally did what the community wanted it to do," Simon said. "It was the right thing to do."

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