BY JOE MARVILLI
The School Construction Authority has decided against placing a high school at a controversial site in Whitestone, after protests from the community and its councilman.
During a Queens Delegation briefing on April 17, SCA president Lorraine Grillo confirmed that the plot of land located at 150-33 6th Ave. in Whitestone is no longer under consideration for a new high school. The news came from Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), who helped lead the community protests against the proposal over last summer.
Vallone, with the backing of civics such as the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association, personally delivered more than 500 signatures against the plan to Grillo. While the SCA had not purchased the land, which is privately-owned, it was considering the site for a new public high school. However, the community quickly came out against the idea, stating that there was a lack of infrastructure and transportation, making the site less than ideal for teachers, students and civilians. It would also have a negative impact on the quality of life for surrounding residents.
Grillo agreed with the councilman and community members, stating those factors as the reason why the Whitestone site is out of the running.
“Even after handing in hundreds of petition signatures, I never stopped pushing the SCA to commit to abandoning this plan,” Vallone said in a statement. “This is a major victory for our area, not because we do not support or need another high school in our district, but because the SCA has clearly taken local input and concerns into their consideration.”
Vallone’s director of communications, Lionel Morales, confirmed that an additional high school for the district is something that the councilman supports in general. Bayside High School is the only public high school in district 19 and suffers from overcrowding. He added that Vallone looks forward to working with the SCA to find a better site.
Community leaders were equally thrilled that the Whitestone site would remain school-free.
“I thank Lorraine Grillo and the School Construction Authority for listening to our community,” said Kim Cody, President of the Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association. “It completely lacks the infrastructure and transportation options to support the large population a high school would bring. I know my community will be relieved to hear about the SCA dropping their plans for this site.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.