One of the arguments put forth by the School Construction Authority (SCA) for building a high school on the corner of 57th Avenue and 74th Street is that the old Restaurant Depot warehouse was unsightly.

In May 2009 the SCA purchased the warehouse at 57-40 74th Street and since then the property has gone from bad to worse. Weeds have overtaken the property, litter and debris are everywhere and the corner has become a dumping ground for everything from household furniture to building materials.

“New York City would summons owners who kept their property in such condition,” said Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association. “We’ll see if the Department of Sanitation issues a summons to the School Construction Authority,” said Holden. He said that the JPCA put in a complaint with 311 on August 5th with both the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Buildings on the horrendous condition of the property.

“This is government at its worse, the School Construction Authority is an agency out of control and not answerable to the people” said Manny Caruana, a Maspeth resident who lives a few blocks from the site.

Last month Tom Ognibene, an attorney for the JPCA and former Middle Village Councilman filed an Order to Show Cause on behalf of the JPCA and COMET (Citizens Of Maspeth & Elmhurst Together) with evidence that the SCA withheld information about the toxic levels on the property. The lawsuit was filed in NYS Supreme Court and the judge is expected to rule on the injunction within the month.

“It’s a disgrace that the City is allowing this already toxic site to become a monstrous eyesore in the community,” said Ognibene.