Northeast Queens officials and residents can breathe a sigh of relief. The planned high school at 30-28 Linden Place has been scrapped. For months, residents, civic leaders and elected officials fought the plan, saying the location, just off the Whitestone Expressway, was a bad place for a school.
Sound familiar? The same thing happened last month at the Bayside Jewish Center site. It happened two years ago in Whitestone and a decade ago in Auburndale.
We don’t begrudge residents who feel the city’s Schools Construction Authority is picking terrible spots to build schools. This is their community and they know it best. But a decade later, we’re still without a much-needed high school in Northeast Queens.
Now is the time for residents and the SCA to sit down together and find an appropriate spot for a high school in Northeast Queens, Councilman Paul Vallone has suggested The New York Times printing plant site in College Point. Perhaps Flushing Airport could be looked at, or maybe tweak the plans for Willets Point to include a high school. Let’s hear several options, instead of just one at a time.
During this process, the community was shut out of the discussion up until a location was chosen. Perhaps if the community has more say in where the SCA looked, the next location will end up being one everyone could live with, and we can move forward with finally building a high school, more than a decade after we realized we needed it.