This site is currently completely vacant and for sale by the owner. It is 1.5 acres of open space – an entire block of land - in a community that only has 12 acres of parkland in total to serve more than 36,000 residents.
There are 1 million more people anticipated to be residing in New York City by the year 2030, many of them coming to Queens. We need to prepare now to serve their needs. Unfortunately, the needs of those currently here are not adequately being fulfilled.
The area where this empty lot is located is surrounded by homes which are not within 10 minutes walking distance of a park, which is a goal Mayor Bloomberg has created as part of PlaNYC 2030. The replanting of the close to 200 trees that were present on this property would also help further the city’s million trees plan and help clean the air. Asthma and cancer are prevalent problems in our community.
You’ll recall that a 30-day deadline to was given to remove the church from the property because the owners supposedly had a buyer lined up. Either that deal fell through, or there never was a buyer in the first place. With real estate values continuing to plummet, this appears to be a good time for the City, which always seems to come up with money for projects it wants to do (even in lean times), to make an offer on the property.
If the City were to acquire the St. Saviour’s grounds, the church could be rebuilt at its original site, which is the ideal situation. While grateful to All Faiths Cemetery’s generous offer to host the church, there is no better location than the one that Maspeth pioneers chose for it in the first place. It was sited there for a reason and rebuilding it there would honor its place in the history of Maspeth, help foster community pride and provide a community center at the location suggested by Community Board 5 for the past 2 years.
Once again, Maspeth is underserved by parks, this site is for sale and acquisition of the land by the city for use as a public park would satisfy a need for both present and future residents. This kind of opportunity to create new open space will likely never present itself again.
I am currently working with elected officials and residents on a proposal to present to the city with regards to this project and the people of Maspeth expect that the mayor will work with us to make this a reality.