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Neponsit Home Demolition Deadline Approaches

By Katie McFadden

The plan to demolish the old Neponsit Home is moving full steam ahead. As work is expected to begin sometime after Labor Day, the Neponsit Property Owners Association held a meeting Tuesday, August 30 with the agencies involved to hear the latest information before the process begins.

The long abandoned Neponsit Home site near Beach 149th Street is slated to come down. Closed since 1998, the buildings have deteriorated into a point of disrepair. NYC Health + Hospitals, which currently owns the site and NYC Parks, which will take over the site after demolition, are working together to oversee the demolition process, ensuring that it’s done within City, State and Federal regulations. Representatives from both agencies plus, Nat Barranco of Urbahn Architects, Tom Tilleli of TDX Construction and Adrienne Kanter of Stokes Creative Group, who will serve as the community contact for the project, were at the meeting at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club to answer questions.

Demolition will be taking place this fall with the first steps beginning sometime after Labor Day. One of the first steps to be taken, which was a big concern for many, will be remediation of vermin by laying down traps for rodents and trapping and releasing any other large animals like raccoons, plus using sound systems to scare off pigeons and other birds.

Then they’ll start to remove hazardous material from the buildings before the demolition process will begin. After everything is demolished, the site will be leveled and suitable soil will be added to the land, plus a new topsoil so the land can be seeded, returning it to parkland before next summer. Part of the land will be used for a new lifeguard facility and an adjacent parking lot with 30 spaces for lifeguard use, which will take up a small area of the land near Rockaway Beach Blvd.

Construction will take place weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Noisy activities will take place after 9 a.m. There will be security on site 24/7 and an eight-foot fence will be placed around the property. To minimize effects, there will be emissions and vibration monitoring and mitigation plus dust, noise and rodent monitoring and mitigation. Sound absorption materials will be placed on the east side to minimize noise levels for neighboring homes. Cleaning of construction debris will take place on the roadway next to the site. The Q22/Q35 bus stop in front of the site will be temporarily moved east.

Councilwoman Joann Ariola was at the meeting and said she would ensure there is transparency and oversight during the entire process.

More discussions will take place in the future regarding the use of the parkland, but NPOA President Amanda Agoglia spoke of some of the ideas the Association would prefer to see. “We’d like to see a nice, passive park, something with a playground for children, a dog walk, a peaceful walking area, a sitting area and perhaps a pickleball court. Basically, something the community can use that’s not going to create a lot of noise for those who live right next to it. We’d also like to see a row of dense trees and shrubs on the east side to buffer the sound for those homeowners, and a nice fence lined with trees on the southside, adjacent to Bay 1 so the beachgoers there are offered privacy to enjoy sunbathing,” she said.

The Community Liaison for the project, Kanter, will be available to answer all questions by phone: 917-740-0405 or email: OutreachNeponsit@gmail.com

At the end of the meeting, Louis Calemine announced a pilot program for a private security service in Neponsit, that they hope homeowners will help support the funding for, in wake of an increase in crime in the area while the police are spread thin. “We just want something to provide visibility as a deterrent because right now we have none,” Calemine said. Neponsit homeowners will receive a letter with more details.

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