P.S. 71 Annex petition asks NYCHA, SCA and DOE to consider new location

P.S. 71 Annex petition asks NYCHA, SCA and DOE to consider new location
A petition sent to NYCHA and the School Construction Authority is the agencies to consider siting the proposed P.S. 71 annex on a NYCHA-owned property located behind 3033 Middletown Road.
Photo courtesy of Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association

Community leaders have started a petition calling for the relocation of a proposed P.S. 71 annex to a more appropiate site.

Drafted by the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association, the petition to the New York City Housing Authority, School Construction Authority and New York City Department of Education asks the agencies to reconsider locating a proposed 270-seat early learning facility away from Continental Avenue, East 197th Street and Hutchinson River Parkway Service Road.

Instead, the petition proposes to have the annex relocated to a NYCHA owned property located behind the Middletown Plaza Apartment Building located at 3033 Middletown Road.

Michele Torrioni, PBTCA president, explained the property the petition is eyeing is a grassy area located behind the senior residence.

According to Torrioni, P.S. 71 presently houses over 1,700 K through 8th grade students this academic year.

The idea was suggested at last month’s public hearing held by Community Board 10 and Community Education Council District 8, however SCA officials said NYCHA was not open to giving up their land and did not wish to entertain further discussion on the subject.

Torrioni hopes this petition will make NYCHA reconsider.

“Having the proposed annex located at this property would be beneficial to the school as well as its families and students,” she said. “It’s more convenient for parents and children because parents can drop their children off at one location and not have to race from one facility to the other.”

She added that 76 supporters have signed the petition which needs 100 signatures to reach its goal.

PBTCA will then mail it to NYCHA and SCA with the hopes both will further discuss the proposal.

She cited P.S. 14 and P.S. 83 as examples of schools that have or in the case of P.S. 14 will have annexes constructed on their school grounds and hopes NYCHA and SCA will consider doing the same for P.S. 71.

Torrioni explained the original site at Continental Avenue “problematic” due to vehicular speeding off the Hutchinson River Parkway 3E exit to reach I-95 North or Bruckner Boulevard, parking issues and the lack of future expansion options.

Community Board 10 voted its disapproval of the SCA-proposed P.S. 71 annex during last month’s meeting and the board mailed SCA a letter expressing their concerns and suggestions for improving the current proposal.

The board’s decision was based on the belief the proposed annex wasn’t large enough to accommodate the projected increase in student population by the year 2018, the high traffic volume near the planned facility and the site placing enormous pressure on the surrounding community.

NYCHA and SCA did not return requests for comment before press time.

If interested in signing this petition, visit www.change.org/p/new-york-city-housing-authority-new-york-city-housing-authority-new-york-city-school-construction-authority-new-york-city-department-of-education-nycha-donate-excess-land-to-help-pelham-bay-s-overcrowded-schools.

Torrioni said anyone without computer or Internet access can contact PBTCA at (718) 409-1345 to sign the petition.

Another petition was also circulated demanding that the city move the annex into the Pelham Grand on Pelham Parkway South and St. Paul Avenue. That property is currently being used for supportive housing.

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