SCA proposes new school on Pelham Parkway South

It could be a classic case of too much of a good thing.

A proposal by the New York City School Construction Authority for a 379-seat primary school in Community District 11 has left residents of the area with one thought: Why here?

The proposed site contains a total of approximately 23,750 square feet of lot area behind the Aging in America building located at 1500 Pelham Parkway South.

The lot is located on the north side of Rhinelander Avenue between Eastchester Road and Stillwell Avenue.

The proposed site consists of the former parking lot of larger property that is in the process of being renovated for charter school use.

After a proposal given by a representative from the School Construction Authority during the Community Board 11 general meeting on Thursday, March 19, board members possessed several concerns.

Community Board 11 member Joe Bombace said there is no need for a school in that area.

“When it was brought to my attention about a school being proposed, I said this is ridiculous,” Bombace said. “There are already schools being constructed there, and we already have two others in the area.”

Bombace said he isn’t against a new school being built, but that it might serve a better purpose in a different area.

“I said they should go and take a look at St. Dominic’s School which closed on June 24, 2011,” Bombace said. “There is a playground right across the street, and it is perfect for another school to slide right in.”

According to Bombace he said he thinks the building needs some upgrading but that, in the end, it is a win-win situation. The presentation was given to alert the community about the proposal and to initiate a 45-day public comment period.

According to a representative from the SCA, the authority cannot take any action without listening and reviewing public comment.

President of the Pelham Parkway South Community Association Edith Blitzer said the area is already too congested and a new school would cause problems with parking, as there is no plan for a parking lot to be built.

Al D’Angelo, president of the Morris Park Community Association said the DOE needs to talk to the community to find out where it needs schools.

“We have children being bused into our schools and having our children bused out to other schools,” he said. “Why not build a school where it is necessary, where the children are being bused in from.”

The 49th Precinct Community Affairs officer, Victor DiPierro, said if the school is placed at the proposed site, he would be worried about emergency response time, with added congestion to the Pelham Parkway-Eastchester Road corridor.

“We already have a big problem with emergency vehicles from Jacobi Medical Center and Einstein Hospital getting access to Eastchester Road between 2:30 and 6 p.m.,” DiPierro said. “We would have to have the Department of Transportation do a study before.”

A public hearing will be held on the matter during the April; a date has not been determined as of press time.

Comments on the proposed actions should be sent to the New York City School Construction Authority at 30-30 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City, New York 11101.

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