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April 1, 2008

Brownfields: Making Fresh Meadows... Less Fresh?

Per Queens Chronicle
(Photo by Michael O'Kane)

When it comes to environmental cleanup, sometimes the wheels of change grind slowly.
Take the case of such a location at 183-15 Horace Harding Expressway in Fresh Meadows, a 1.6-acre site which formerlyhoused a strip mall and was demolished three years ago under the state’s voluntary Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The property is owned by Whitestone Realty LLD, which wants to develop two hotels and attached houses in the back of the property. Plans call for two six-story hotels with 70 and 90 rooms, respectively.
Susan Seinfeld, district manager of Community Board 11, has been trying to work with the developer for years, but has had little success. “I have been trying to reach George Xu, an official with the developer, to discuss all the problems, but he didn’t call me back,” she said.

At this point I'd take the proposed project over the vacant land/Brownfield. Queens should not be a place where stagnation should occur. It is unacceptable, to deny Queens residents possible services the occupants of this land could bear. It is also unacceptable to bring downt he quality of the neighborhood, leaving eyesores like this around.