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A “temporary” sanitation garage on Knapp Street is getting a $2.8-million facelift, and angry Sheepshead Bay residents say the city is wasting money on a facility it promised to close down.
Residents say the city is reneging on its 1998 plan to build a new truck storage garage three miles away on a 16-acre lot off Coney Island Creek.
But instead of paying for a new garage, the city is sprucing up the Knapp Street site, between Avenue Y and Avenue Z, and bringing in new trailers to use as office space – signs residents fear point to the facility becoming permanent.
Even though the garage is next to a sewage treatment plant and is on an industrialized block, it is adjacent to a residential area. As such, residents say that they don’t want a refurbished facility in their neighborhood.
“The community is unanimous in not wanting the garage on Knapp Street,” said Theresa Scavo, chairwoman of Community Board 15, which is serviced by the garage. “A lot of people have called complaining about the garage’s odors.”
Twelve years ago, the city said that it would build a $158-million garage at the National Grid site — where the nearest homes are several blocks away — to cover Community Board 15, which include Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach, as well as Community Board 13, which includes Coney Island. Trucks for that neighborhood are presently kept at a garage on Neptune Avenue between W. 20th and W. 21st streets — which is also close to residents.
The city has preparing the National Grid site for the garage by decontaminating it, but it can’t afford to build there, sanitation spokesman Matthew Lipani said.
That’s left residents with a bad taste in their mouths.
“The city went back on its promise,” said Helen Sarubbi, a Community Board 15 member.
Still, the city says plans for the dual-garage haven’t been entirely scrapped.
“We anticipate that as the economy improves, funds can be restored for this important project,” Lipani said.
But until that money becomes available, residents living near both facilities will have to deal with the garbage truck traffic they bring.
“Getting that garage moved from Neptune Avenue is a chief community board priority,” said CB13 Chairman Chuck Reichenthal. “People who bought homes there 20 years ago were promised that the garage would be temporary, so the city needs to build a new garage at the Coney Island Creek site.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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