The Juniper Park Civic Association and Councilman Tony Avella will hold two rallies this weekend aimed at curbing overdevelopment and preserving history in Maspeth & Middle Village, Queens.
On Saturday, June 30th at 12 noon on the steps of city hall, Councilman Avella and JPCA will rally against notorious developer, Tommy Huang, who has been erecting non-conforming buildings all over the borough of Queens. The civic association and councilman are calling for the city's Department of Buildings to take action and force Mr. Huang to demolish an illegally constructed building on Mazeau Street in Maspeth along with all other illegally constructed buildings he owns throughout Queens.
"Tommy Huang has a more than 20 year history of building structures that do not abide by the zoning code," said Councilman Tony Avella. "It's time for the city to say to him: 'Enough is enough."
The JPCA will also take this opportunity to publicly push for the downzoning of Maspeth, Glendale and Middle Village to be completed by the end of 2007. JPCA volunteers went door-to-door in 2005 to collect the information that city planning said they needed in order to complete their survey. Two years later, the rezoning plan still has not even been certified by the department.
"While we wait for city planning to act, our neighborhoods are being destroyed," said Robert Holden, President of the JPCA. "Downzoning is an important step toward limiting overdevelopment."
On Sunday, July 1st at 1pm, Councilman Avella and JPCA will hold a rally outside of St. Saviour's Church, at 58th Street and 57th Road in Maspeth, Queens. The church was designed in 1847 by master architect, Richard Upjohn, and was founded by pioneers of Maspeth. The church was sold to developers in 2005 and demolition work has been halted since last Spring. The developers of the property are now looking to sell it. The councilman and civic organization are calling on the city to either purchase the property or swap city-owned land with the owners in order to acquire it.
"This would make a perfect community center and public park for the people in the surrounding neighborhood who don't have either nearby," said Christina Wilkinson, chair of JPCA's Committee to Save St. Saviour's. "The 185 trees present on the property are vital to the area's health, and since Mayor Bloomberg has been talking about 'greening' the city, saving this parcel and converting it into a park should be a no-brainer."
"Artifacts dating back to the Revolutionary War have been found on the property. We simply must save St. Saviour's," said JPCA President Robert Holden. "To not do so would mean the city is turning its back on our history."
Chairman and founder of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council agrees. "It is the role for the city in its entirety to act on what's right for its constituents, and not the developers. The city must act immediately to save St. Saviour's," he said.