BY LUIS GRONDA
The call to “tear it down” has been heard.
The abandoned building at 78-15 Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven will be demolished after the property’s owner failed to make an appearance at a court date on April 10.
Residents in Woodhaven have been calling on the City to destroy the building after a collapse last year left its neighbors, the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, without a home as the collapse also damaged the company’s headquarters. It is also home to the Woodhaven Senior Center, which has been relocated to the American Legion on 91st Street off Woodhaven Boulevard.
In early March, Woodhaven residents stood in front of the now-vacant ambulance corps headquarters, demanding that the City take action on the building before the situation worsened.
At that rally, Kathy Sexton-Dalby said the area where they operated has taken on some more damage since last year’s collapse and something needed to be done soon.
“Now the back room has been damaged, the walls need to be removed, floor needs to be taken out, it’s just unbelievable,” she said.
After pressure from area residents and elected officials representing Woodhaven, the Housing Preservation Development will soon destroy the building.
According to an HPD spokesperson, the Dept. of Buildings has ordered the demolition and the HPD will be the one to carry out the action through a contractor that they hire. The agency has completed part of the work and will be doing an asbestos inspection of the building. The scope they have already done and the asbestos will help the agency figure out what work needs to be done prior to the demolition itself.
After the work is complete, HPD will bill the owner of the building and if it is not repaid, a lien will be placed on the property, according to the agency.
Martin Colberg, president of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association, said he was elated to hear the news of the building’s demise.
“It’s a great step forward,” he said. “We’re going to get what we wanted, which is a secure location.”
Although it is just the first step in what could be a lengthy process, Colberg said he hopes this means the ambulance corps will be able to move back into its home as soon as possible.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.