St. Saviour’s park a wish list priority
by Daniel Bush
Sep 15, 2009 | 6411 views | 0 0 comments | 97 97 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In Maspeth, where available open space is dwindling fast, residents continue to call for the city to transform the former St. Saviour’s site into a public park.

Renewed support for the project came at Community Board 5’s annual budget meeting, where residents are given the chance to request the city fund specific improvement projects around the district.

Requests were made for more cops to be put on the streets, as well as for playground, bridge, and roadway improvements, too. Glendale resident Mary Parisen presented an ambitious proposal to use city funds to beautify Glendale’s streets.

But the most popular wish list item by far was a new park at St. Saviour’s, the roughly two-acre plot of vacant land located at 57-40 58th Street that once housed a historic church built in 1847.

“I would like to propose that you turn this land which is an eyesore into a park,” said one resident, Anthony Lewandowski, echoing a slew of similar comments made at the hearing.

The board must evaluate this and other budget and expense requests before presenting a suggested fiscal year 2011 budget. FY 2011 begins in July of next year. CB5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri said the board would review all requests made at the hearing.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said she understands the need for more open space in Maspeth.

“There isn’t enough parkland,” she said at the hearing. “We’re working with the Maspeth community to see how we’re gong to go about finding the needed dollars to build a park in that part of Maspeth.”

Though many agree a park there makes sense, the city has no money to pay for it, according to Adrian Benepe, the commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Department.

In response to community concerns about the lack of open space in Maspeth, Benepe wrote in an August 28th letter that residents there “would benefit from more and better access to public parkland.”

Benepe said, however, that right now Parks can’t pay to turn St. Saviour’s into a park, adding that the city does not plan to use eminent domain to acquire the property.

“At this time we have no such funding,” Benepe wrote, “but we would welcome allocations from the area’s elected officials.”

Gary Giordano, CB5’s district manager, said the board would submit its suggested FY 2011 budget to the city by October 31.

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