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Parents Worry About Kids' Safety Amid Security Concerns at Vacant Hospital

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 29, 2015 8:05pm
 The former Parkway Hospital building has been vacant since 2008.
The former Parkway Hospital building has been vacant since 2008.
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DNAinfo.com/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — A long-vacant hospital building which sits near one of the most coveted elementary schools in Forest Hills poses a potential danger to local children, some parents said.

The former Parkway Hospital, at 70-35 113th St., has been an empty eyesore with its windows boarded up since it closed in 2008. 

The building is usually covered with graffiti, people are able to go in and out, and, on Oct. 20, a suspicious fire broke out inside, parents said.

“We are really concerned, especially since there was a fire, with so many kids next door,” said Karen Solomon, a mother of two first graders at P.S. 196. “We want the kids to be safe.”

Since the hospital closed, the property has been in and out of auction. Last year, Jasper Venture Group, a New York-based real estate investment firm, which holds the mortgage on the building, said that it was considering replacing the former medical facility with a residential tower. But earlier this year, the company announced that the property was up for sale again.

Local parents and elected officials were hoping to convert the building into a school to alleviate overcrowding in the area, but the Department of Education didn't find the proposal feasible

Michael Cohen, a spokesman for local Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, said that the councilwoman met with the owners of the building about two months ago amid concerns that the “place wasn’t secure.”

“The representative from Jasper indicated that they would take measures, they would seal the property, they would do something about the graffiti and they would provide a security guard,” Cohen said.

Cohen said that, while the graffiti has been removed and the building's broken windows boarded up, the property still requires a fence that would better protect it from trespassers.

“It’s a vacant building,” a representative for Jasper Venture Group said by phone earlier this week. “We actually closed the windows, we are securing it and we are doing the best we can.”

It was not clear what are the company’s plans for the property. According to its website “the entire 107,142 sq ft building is vacant and will soon be under construction.”