2015-05-27 / Features

Dromm, Residents Demand Action On Dangerous Site


Councilman Daniel Dromm, at podium, Community Board 3 District Manager Giovanna Reid (l. of podium), and residents of the Greystone Co-ops demand action on a problematic National Grid work site. Inset: worksite Councilman Daniel Dromm, at podium, Community Board 3 District Manager Giovanna Reid (l. of podium), and residents of the Greystone Co-ops demand action on a problematic National Grid work site. Inset: worksite Councilman Daniel Dromm and neighbors gathered on the morning of May 19 outside 35-27 80th St., in Jackson Heights to bring attention to dangerous pits created by National Grid and left ignored for weeks.

National Grid dug holes measuring 13 by 3 feet along 80th Street in Jackson Heights to start gas pipe renovations but then left the pits unattended. Residents have seen children playing in the holes and charge that the exposed pipes have been emitting gaseous odors.

Dromm’s office has communicated with National Grid several times yet the problem persists. National Grid has also not returned residents’ calls.

“National Grid is being a bad neighbor,” said Dromm. “We understand that there is needed construction but it is highly irresponsible for National Grid to inadequately barricade the construction site and leave it open to children to play in, garbage to gather and rain to flood. National Grid must respond to residents’ concerns to finish the work that was started last month. If that cannot be accomplished quickly, National Grid must cover the roadway with plates to protect residents and their children.”

“We urge National Grid to make the necessary repairs to the street located at 35-27 80th Street,” said Community Board 3 District Manager Giovanna Reid. “Work started in April and has been left unprotected, causing an unsafe condition for anyone that has access to that portion of the street. Urgent attention is needed.”

“The unfinished repair work initiated by National Grid on April 17, 2015 has not only resulted in a ‘trip and fall’ hazard to pedestrians, but has made us nervous because we were told originally the construction was to remedy a gas leak,” said Co-op Board Vice President Ricky Castro. “Despite many complaints, we have received no answers about why we smell gas and if it’s safe. On top of that, last weekend the rain filled these holes and caused our basement to flood. This situation is out of control. We are absolutely outraged that it takes the intervention of a City Councilmember to resolve this critical safety issue.”

National Grid has left the large holes on 80th Street open for a month without giving any timeline on repairs. Residents are also nervous about the gas smell coming from holes. After a month of inaction National Grid workers arrived at the scene on the day of the press conference.

“On April 17, 2015 a company started demolition on the sidewalk, street and front garden of our building and across the street from us, to repair what we were told was a gas leak,” said building resident and former Co-op President Liz DeLuna. “Over the next three weeks they dug holes and put in temporary replacement pipes, one of which is propped up by a flimsy piece of wood. But they did not finish the job they started. National Grid never contacted us regarding the gas leak and subsequent construction and demolition. Given the recent events in the East Village we are frightened that the building might be unsafe for occupants.”

This is not the first time complaints have been lodged against National Grid by Dromm’s constituents. “National Grid cannot just come to our community unannounced, dig up our streets and leave behind dangerous conditions,” Dromm continued. “It’s outrageous that this corporation doesn’t see the damaging effects its behavior has on the community.”

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