Ten years after the School Construction Authority (SCA) set up temporary classrooms for the High School of Telecommunications Arts & Technology, community activists are asking that they be removed.
Community Board 10 voted overwhelmingly at its most recent meeting to demand that the agency immediately take down the structures and restore the park as they said they would. When the temporary classrooms were installed in 1998, SCA had promised that they would remain up for only one year.
“Ten years is long enough,” asserted community activist Jim O’Dea in a May 19th letter to Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel. “The community expects them to abide by their agreement in a timely manner.”
“This is outrageous,” contended Eleanor Petty, chairperson of CB10’s Parks Committee during the board’s June meeting, which was held in the community room at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road. “They do what they want to do. We just don’t want to let them get away with it.”
“We don’t want to wait another three years for them to think about thinking about it,” added board member Tom Colasuonno.
One concern, voiced by board member Ron Gross, is that the removal of the temporary classrooms might put more construction trailers on the street as SCA finishes up work in the auditorium at Telecom, and he asked that the board make the deadline “toward the end of the year.”
“Immediately in city talk might be six months,” replied board Chairperson Dean Rasinya before the vote was taken.
The area “really has been abandoned by SCA,” said CB 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann in a subsequent interview. “The weeds are overgrown. They’re not even bothering to do day-to-day upkeep. They should stand by their commitment.”
But, said a Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson, the reason why the temporary classrooms are still in Leif Ericson Park is that the project has expanded.
Margie Feinberg, speaking for the agency, said that, in fact, the temporary classrooms are still in use, not by students but by construction workers.
“There’s still work to be done at the school. Because of that, workmen need the trailers,” Feinberg stressed. “Once we finish the work at the school, the trailers will be removed and we will work to rehabilitate the park.”
Feinberg said that, in fact, the modernization project planned for 1998 turned out to be just the beginning of the work;. “It was a lot of different projects, not just one project,” she told this paper. “The auditorium is all we have left.”
While Feinberg could not give an exact completion date, she said the work should be done before the end of 2008.