NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A deteriorating and potentially dangerous sign hangs over Queens Boulevard, and a neighbor has been complaining that no one has taken action to prevent a potential tragedy.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Tuesday night, Elmhurst resident Tom McKenzie said the dilapidated billboard has been falling apart for months.
“This is the second-most traveled roadway in the city, and if a piece of that hit a bunch of cars, can you imagine the accident we’d have — cars skidding into each other during the rush hour?” McKenzie said.
The billboard’s 6-foot-by-3-foot plywood planks have been flying off. One of them recently damaged a street sign.
The billboard, on the corner of Queens Boulevard and Barnwell Avenue, sits atop a building that has been abandoned for more than 15 years. McKenzie claimed the city has ignored his countless complaints about it.
“The building is falling down. The sign is coming apart. There are people in the building. It’s open; unsafe; unguarded,” McKenzie said. “The Buildings Department does nothing.”
The city Department of Buildings said it sent an inspector to the scene last week, but deemed the building unsafe. The department said it is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain not only the building, but the billboard as well.
The owner could not be reached for comment, but McKenzie said in no uncertain terms that he’s had it.
“This is so dangerous, and no one seems to give a damn,” McKenzie said.
Since 1990, the Department of Buildings has received 19 complaints about the property, including 10 for the billboard.
The Environmental Control Board also issued the owner two tickets for failing to maintain the billboard, and 12 more citations for failing to maintain the building.
“I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do,” McKenzie said. “When some kid is killed, then we’ll take action.”
The property owner is due in court next month, but if nothing is done to secure the billboard and building before then, McKenzie is worried that his community will pay a painful price.
The property owner already owes the city a $5,000 fine for failing to maintain the building.
What kind of action do you think should be taken against the property owner? Leave your comments below…