Bayside Principal Says Building Will Ease Burden On Other Schools

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The owner of a popular garden center in Bayside, Queens, has struck a deal with the city to sell his property so a new school can be built on the site, but not everybody is pleased with the plan.

Keil Bros Garden Center has been in business for 83 years. Now, the city is planning to build an elementary school on the premises, a project that some people in the neighborhood say will do more harm than good.

“We’re in favor of a school, it’s just a matter of finding the right location. There are serious problems, houses all around, a narrow street,” Community Board 11 spokesman Jerry Iannece told CBS 2’s John Slattery on Friday.

A school with more than 400 students would pose a serious threat to quality of life in the neighborhood, according to Community Board 11 members. There are already two middle schools, three grammar schools, and a parochial school inside of a one square-mile area.

“It’s a little congested here,” Iannece said.

The principal of nearby P.S. 41 disagreed, telling CBS 2 that a new school would alleviate a serious over-crowding issue in her building.

Garden Center owner Ronald Keil said the decision to sell was not an easy one.

“The uncertain economy, the changing nature of retail, and the increasing cost of doing business all contributed to the decision to accept the city’s offer,” he said.

If the deal is approved by the City Council the Garden Center will move elsewhere and the property will make way for education.

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