From ‘Green Church’ ruins, a school will rise

The Brooklyn Paper
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The plan to build a school on the site of Bay Ridge’s now demolished “Green Church” earned an A+ from an influential neighborhood group last week.

Community Board 10’s zoning and education committees nearly unanimously approved the city’s plan to build a 680-seat kindergarten through fifth grade school at the former site of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church — an emerald-hued, Landmark-worthy house of worship that was torn down in October by its congregation to make room for a smaller, easier to maintain church funded by the sale of the land at the corner of Fourth and Ovington avenues.

When the $9.75-million deal closes between the congregation and developer Abe Betesh, the city is aiming to acquire the land from the builder — who initially planned to construct 72 condominiums on the site, but in December posted a billboard advertising the property as a potential location for a school.

The city sees the land — which was at the center of a lengthy struggle between the congregation and neighborhood preservationists who sought to “save” the green-toned building — as much-needed space in the borough’s most overcrowded school district.

“This is a fairly large site in an area where we need seats desperately,” said Tami Rachelson of the School Construction Authority, whose agency is currently eyeballing a site on Fourth Avenue between 88th and 89th streets for another school, and is considering building an annex for PS 69 on 62nd Street between Fort Hamilton Parkway and Ninth Avenue.

The board’s lone “no” vote came from Bob Cassara, who argued that instead of building a new school, the city should lease space from the Catholic school Our Lady of Angels, which is scheduled to close next year. Department of Education officials countered that rehabbing parochial schools is typically costly as they do often do not meet the city’s codes.

Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

We need vouchers from Bay Ridge says:
What, no one on CB 10 thinks vouchers would be a better alternative?

I guess they all want to throw our tax dollars down another financial black hole.
Jan. 20, 2009, 9:51 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
To: We need vouchers

Outsourcing public funds to private institutions is not neccesarily a better alternative. Also I do not think that building new schools in underserved districts can accurately be called a black hole for tax dollars. I would call it an appropriate use of public money.
Jan. 21, 2009, 6:07 am
wil from bay ridge says:
Why not build YMCA for the kids in the Neighborhood. There are no programs out there for the kids to attend and stay out of trouble.

The closest YMCA is at Prospect Place
Jan. 21, 2009, 3:59 pm
Frank from Bay Ridge says:
I agree with Michael: A new public school is a VERY appropriate use of public money, not a black hole.
And why, exactly, should public funds be used to promote private schools - many (if not most) of which are religious schools?
Jan. 22, 2009, 2:02 am
farnum from bay ridge says:
I support public schools, and we need more of them here. Vouchers would be a rat-hole. They're a not-so-hidden attempt to privatize public ed and hand public $ to sectarian (parochial) and private schools. And as soon as you start with vouchers, every Tom, Dick and Harriet will start up a two-bit "school" in a garage. Or better yet, a religious-type school, since these face fewer restrictions.
Jan. 22, 2009, 11:38 pm
Rob from Bay Ridge says:
A school is a great idea. And no, I don't want my tax $ going to vouchers. I went to a parochial elementary school (followed by public high school). My parents didn't expect the state to pay for it -- since (a) the school EXISTED to provide a religious education, and (b) any funding it rec'd would benefit that religion.
We get taxed for public schools even if we don't use them -- but that happens with many things. Should the state pay my cab fare (via vouchers) if I don't like mass transit? Or give me a tax credit if I use private non-muni hospitals, or if I buy books instead of hitting the library?
Jan. 28, 2009, 10:56 am

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