Bay Ridge

CEC rejects city’s Bay Ridge Pre-k site

January 26, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The proposed site is problematic, according to members of the Community Education Council. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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Charging that the New York City School Construction Authority selected an inappropriate site to construct a new pre-K school in Bay Ridge, the Community Education Council of School District 20 has voted against the plan.

The proposed site, an abandoned two-story building at 621 86th St., is located next to the 86th Street exit of the Gowanus Expressway.

In a vote on Jan. 20, the Community Education Council (CEC) decided to recommend that the School Construction Authority (SCA) not move ahead with the plan. The CEC held a public hearing on Jan. 20 at P.S./I.S. 104 in Bay Ridge and voted after the hearing to give the SCA’s proposal a thumbs-down.

“The CEC was opposed to the site,” Laurie Windsor, president of the CEC told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Windsor had expressed deep concerns about the idea of placing a school for 4-year-old children next to a bustling highway even before the vote took place. “How can we even consider this with that block as the exit ramp from the expressway?” she asked.

The CEC is composed of members who are elected by Parent-Teacher Association leaders in School District 20. The district covers schools in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, as well as parts of Borough Park and Sunset Park. Two of the CEC members are appointed by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

The CEC vote is non-binding, however, and it’s not clear what, if anything, can be done to stop the proposed project from moving forward.

SCA officials told the CEC at the hearing that the new school would be designed to accommodate 108 children.

Community Board 10, which had its offices in the 86th Street building for decades, moved out of the space and into new offices at 8119 Fifth Ave. in 2009. The community board, composed of 50 members appointed by the borough president with input from Councilmember Vincent Gentile, works to ensure that local residents get their fair share of city services. The community board also advises city agencies on zoning and land use and other issues.

On the same night as the CEC hearing, the proposal was also the subject of a public hearing held jointly by two Community Board 10 committees: Zoning and Land Use; and Youth Services, Education and Libraries. The hearing took place at the Knights of Columbus John Hughes Council on 86th Street in Dyker Heights.

Members of both committees expressed serious concerns with the plan, according to one Board 10 member, who said traffic and safety concerns topped the list.

The Board 10 member expressed doubt that the project could be stopped, given the fact that  District 20, the district in which the new facility would be built, is severely overcrowded and in dire need for more classroom space for students.

“I think the SCA is going to move ahead with this plan no matter what anyone says,” the board member said.


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