Last week, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley stopped by the board's monthly meeting at Christ the King High School to assure that she has not yet given up the fight.
Following a clean environmental assessment statement of the property earlier this year, Crowley began pushing for support from her fellow elected officials to override the homeless shelter plans for a nine-acre school campus.
“I believe that this is the best use for this property, and I believe that if we continue to work together we will see that site becomes a school,” Crowley said at the meeting last week.
Despite consistent refusal from the Department of Education (DOE) to consider the site for a new school campus, Crowley said she will continue to fight for what she says is necessary to combat an overcrowding crisis in the district.
A representative of the School Construction Authority (SCA) previously expressed an interest in the site under the condition that the proposed shelter site at 78-16 Cooper Ave. could be purchased, along with the two neighboring properties: the Independent Chemical and Hansel & Gretel sites.
When asked whether there has been any change in their consideration of the site for a new school, a spokesperson for DOE reiterated the agency “is not currently considering this proposal.”
The spokesperson clarified that the DOE also speaks for the SCA.
But with support from numerous city, state and federal elected officials, Crowley said she is nevertheless confident they will be able to convince the city that a school is the best plan for the property.
Resident Dawn Scala agreed that while the councilwoman and numerous other elected officials have been fighting the shelter since it was first proposed by Samaritan Village last year, she is doubtful they are doing all that they can to stop the process.
“Our elected officials have to get more aggressive and we have to demand that from them,” Scala said. “Why aren’t they enacting some form of legislation to change the rules?”
Scala has become a familiar face at the CB5 meetings, as she has made it her monthly duty to express for her fellow residents their frustration regarding the proposed shelter site and others she says are sure to come.
“Queens is going to be hit with more shelters,” she suggested. “If there is an empty hotel somewhere, I would almost bet it’s going to turn into a homeless shelter down the road.”