For the second time in less than a week residents held a rally to protest the planned methadone clinic in Pelham Parkway North.
On Saturday, March 7, activists Irene Estrada and Roxanne Delgado held a rally at 2500 Williamsbridge Road, the site for the clinic and then on Tuesday, March 10, a second rally was held.
“The mommies, the daddies, the grandmas, the children and the residents in the community – we are everyone’s worst nightmare,” Estrada said to the Bronx Times.
The clinic that was stopped last year by Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez appears to have used deception to circumvent the community’s efforts to halt the facility from establishing roots in Pelham Parkway North.
In November 2019, Gjonaj, Fernandez and Community Board 11 held a raucous town hall where nearly 1,000 people expressed displeasure with a methadone clinic coming to the community, specifically because of its close proximity to P.S. 89.
However, on Monday, February 17, Carnegie Hill Institute, posing as CHI LLC, purchased the brick one-story property for $925,000 from Florence Klapper, a Manhattan resident, $75,000 less than the original asking price.
Parents and children expressed displeasure with the planned clinic.
“I don’t want it here because first of all the school is right in front of where they’re going to put the clinic and if the kids see it they’re going to start wanting to do things that they’re not supposed to do,” said Yaeielis, a fifth grade student.
Judy Angeles, whose daughter is scheduled to begin kindergarten at P.S. 89 in the fall, said she was shocked when she heard the recent news. She noted she might have to reconsider if she will send her kid to school there.
“When it comes down to children we have to think about them first,” Angeles said. “We don’t need that around children.”
Spira Gianfrancesco, who lives nearby, attended the town hall in November and felt confident that the clinic was not coming to the neighborhood. When the property owner sold the building to CHI she felt betrayed
Gianfrancesco explained she has no problem with people going to methadone clinics, but stressed they should not be near schools.
“It doesn’t take a genius to understand that,” she exclaimed.
Wendy Martinez a teacher at P.S. 89, fears for her students and her daughter, Stephanie, who is a seventh grader at St. Lucy’s School at 830 Mace Avenue.
“It’s a really stupid decision,” Stephanie said. “These people should think about our students and basically everyone who is going to school there, the people in the park, the people learning in the school, the teachers and the police officers.”
Martinez told the Bronx Times she and her colleagues are concerned about the incoming clinic. Some teachers might even consider leaving the school.
“I’m worried because a lot of our students walk to school by themselves,” Martinez said. “Why put so many children at risk.”