Tag Archives: Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery

Controversial Bayside elementary school to start construction this summer

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy the Department of Education 

The School Construction Authority is collecting bids to find a company to construct a controversial four-story, 468-seat elementary school in Bayside on the former Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery site.

The school, P.S. 332, will cost between $46.2 to $48.6 million and should be open for students from pre-K through fifth grade in September 2017, according to a Department of Education representative. Although a specific time wasn’t given, construction on the nearly 80,500-square-foot facility is expected to start in the late summer, the spokesperson said.

Dozens of residents held a rally two years ago in front of the site at 210-07 48th Ave. to protest the new school. Homeowners nearby said it would impact parking and present dangerous traffic problems for students.

The City Council gave the green light for the project in November 2013 after a vote. Councilmen Mark Weprin and Peter Vallone Jr. were the only legislators who voted against it. However, state Sen. Tony Avella, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Community Board 11 also opposed the project.

Supporters of the plan said it would relieve congestion from the district’s schools, which, like schools in many other parts of the borough, are suffering from overcrowding.

That could be the reason why the size of the proposed school inflated over the years. Original plans were for a 456-student institution.

Construction companies have until May 22 to submit their bids.


Residents rally against Bayside school

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Bayside residents are not happy with a recent proposal to place a school in their neighborhood.

Dozens of community members gathered on the corner of 48th Avenue and 210th Street, where the Department of Education (DOE) has proposed placing a 416-seat primary school. The new school, about a half-mile away from P.S. 31, would replace Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery. However, State Senator Tony Avella, Assemblymember Nily Rozic and local residents are up in arms over the idea.

“We’re here to express our outrage at the board for trying to push this through without consulting us,” said Avella. “They tried to make this happen before the community could get properly organized, and the DOE has also refused to allow a representative from Community Board 11 to attend the meeting where they’ll be discussing it.”

The opponents contend that placing the proposed school between the backyards of several residential homes would drastically increase traffic congestion, noise levels and parking problems. They also say property value in the area would see a significant decrease.

“This is wrong and out of character for this community,” said Rozic. “Just because it’s the summer doesn’t mean we’re not here and don’t want to talk about what goes on in our community.”

Although the City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses was scheduled to hold a public hearing about the proposal, it has since been rescheduled for next month. Residents hope they will be able to voice their strong opposition then.

“It is simply disgraceful to not include the community board,” said Avella. “We’re going to push back against this and tell the DOE that this does not work for us.”