FH neighbors complain about Our Lady of Mercy play street
by Andrew Shilling
Oct 22, 2013 | 994 views | 1 1 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Linda Dougherty, principal of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy
Linda Dougherty, principal of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy
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Fourth grade teacher Janis Ray and her students on Juno Street.
Fourth grade teacher Janis Ray and her students on Juno Street.
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For about 30 minutes in the mid-afternoon on school days, around 100 students at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy in Forest Hills use Juno Street for recess. They have done this every school day since 1986, however they have been asked to move due to complaints from the neighbors.

While no barricades have been provided by the local 112th Precinct, Linda Dougherty, the school’s principal, said she still plans to hold their recess on the residential street.

Community Board 6 contacted Dougherty back in September about complaints that the police barricades on Juno had been left out too long, to which she replied the school would look into the issue.

“I didn’t hear anything again, until about two weeks ago when I received a call from the community affairs officer from the 112th requesting to see me,” Dougherty said. “They (112th Precinct officers) met with me, and said there were numerous complaints and that they would like to try 70th Avenue, between Kessel and Juno as a play street.”

With significantly less houses on the shorter stretch of road along 70th Avenue, Dougherty said she is concerned that the road is too busy.

“I really didn’t feel as though I was given a choice, and I did see that there could be some problems,” she said. “I was concerned about a two-way street on an avenue with the extra traffic.”

While Dougherty said officers told her it was just a temporary change, she said didn’t think that her permit ever expired, which she received back in 1986. She has yet to move the classes over to their new location, and awaits police barricades to begin the trial.

With no playground, and while Kessel Street on the opposite side of the school is used for city buses, she explained that the school is limited on options for play spaces.

When parents called the precinct to complain about the proposed change, Dougherty said, “ They weren’t happy with that.”

Police officers, school board members and Dougherty are scheduled to meet at the CB6 office, located at 10401 Metropolitan Ave., at 11 a.m. on Wed., Oct. 23 to discuss the proposal.

“It’s our hope that we can find a safe place for them,” she said.

Janis Ray has taught at the school for seven years and said her fourth grade students need the break in the afternoon to get some fresh air.

“I think that it’s a good street and there’s a lot of room for them to play,” she said. “They’re young kids and they need to expel some energy, when they come out at recess for 20 minutes.”

She added that there are typically two teachers and five parents supervising the children between 12:45 and 1:10 p.m.

Yasmiris Macia has two students at the school and said she has been supervising at the school for the last month.

“As long as there are parents that come and supervise the kids, they come and they are safe,” Macia said. “They should stay here, and it has been such a long time that they have always done it this way.”

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Molly Sheridan
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October 24, 2013
Can you tell us what happened at the 10/23 meeting? It is outrageous that a two-way street like 70th would even be considered. Juno has been a play street for a short time every school day for 27 years. Why is this a problem now??