The proposal was first reported last month by Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, who rejected the idea. It came just weeks after the former factory site at 78-16 Cooper Avenue in Glendale was being considered for conversion into a shelter.
Councilman Bob Holden worked behind the scenes to get the School Construction Authority to convert the location into a new state-of-the-art school for special needs children. Some residents believe this would essentially be a “swap,” placing PS 9’s students in Glendale while leaving the school vulnerable for conversion.
Holden, who has denied this claim, has spoken previously about the bad conditions at PS 9.
But Debbie Cox, a Maspeth resident and member of Community Board 5, recently visited the school and said that it’s in good shape.
“I can see how some may look at the historical look of the school and think it is not an up to date facility,” she said last week. “But the technology, equipment and ongoing renovation seem to say different.”
She mentioned that classrooms are full of new technology, including smart boards and Promethean boards. The music room has lots of instruments, the library has new books, and even the gym has “state of the art fitness equipment.”
There were even two new bathrooms in the school, and students have a “safe environment” to have their meals.
“The heart and soul of the principal, faculty and students shined through the entire visit,” she said.
Maspeth civic associations, including the Juniper Park Civic Association, Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) and Citizens for a Better Maspeth, are all opposed to closing PS 9.
Some community leaders say they would even consider using money left over from the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express lawsuit to stop a possible shelter at PS 9, should it come to that point.