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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Neighbors feel trapped by college construction

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

Residents barraged Waldo Gardens building supervisor Humberto Telleria on Tuesday with complaints saying they were unable to move their cars in and out of the parking lot behind their building at 3800 Waldo Ave.

A backhoe, construction vehicles and a large hole blocked off access to the garage. The construction was part of an effort to connect the sewer on Irwin Avenue to Manhattan College’s new five floor, 70,000-square-foot Raymond Kelly Student Center — named for the former police commissioner who graduated from the school — at the corner of Manhattan College Parkway and Waldo Avenue. 

The parking lot at Waldo Gardens is down the hill from the building’s entrance on Waldo Avenue. It has two entrances on Irwin Avenue. One is a remote-controlled gate at the intersection of Irwin Avenue and 240th Street, while the other is further down Irwin Avenue and requires a key. 

Mr. Telleria said many of the residents who live in Waldo Gardens’ roughly 170 apartment units are elderly and use the remote controlled entrance to avoid exiting their cars to unlock the second gate. Some do not have a key for the second gate. 

“They were complaining to me, how are we going to get out?” he said. “How are we going to work?” 

Residents say that in addition to parking difficulties, there have been ongoing problems with Manhattan College’s construction project, including a build-up of debris on cars from upturned pavement and dirt and a burgeoning rat problem. Resident Annette Douglas, 65, says she has seen rodents the size of cats gallivanting about the property and making nests in the complex’s garden, while her car is among those covered with grit. 

“It’s not so easy living next to this college,” she said. 

Waldo Gardens board president Joan Kaufman said that neither the board nor individual residents received any notice from Manhattan College about the troubles they would face coming to and from their parking lot on Irwin Avenue.

“This is what Manhattan College does,” she said. “They do what they want to do and then they apologize afterward. It’s very frustrating.” 

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