Instead of the sounds of winter’s winds or muffled street traffic, residents at the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative will soon be lulled to sleep by the pitter-patter of construction taking place at nearby P.S./M.S. 95 Sheila Mencher.
Work has begun to replace defective masonry at the Hillman Avenue school, according to the city’s education department, which refused to respond to multiple requests for comment.
“It’s just a mess,” said Anita Inniss, whose daughter attends an after-school program in the building. “How they did this was crazy.”
Debris littered the ground from around the school where scaffolding has popped up, forcing parents and children to walk in the street to avoid the mess. Because of the cold weather, no work is taking place, Inniss said, and she’s not looking forward to when it actually resumes.
One of the biggest concerns Inniss has is children walking under the scaffoldingas construction takes place above. Instead of beginning at 4 p.m., she thinks work should start at 7 when students are out of the area.
Before work started, management at the Amalgamated held an information session with residents so they could learn more about the project since work will take place from 4 p.m. to midnight on weekdays, said Doris Spencer, the education director of the co-op’s management company.
Although noise is one concern, parking is another, especially along Gouverneur Avenue where a trailer is parked, taking up some of the block’s spaces. Yet Spencer did not expect losing such spots would be a big issue since “parking in general is just really crazy” already.
Work will also take place on weekends and school holidays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, according to a letter the Amalgamated’s management company sent to residents, that was obtained by The Riverdale Press.
The school’s roof, which contains non-friable asbestos will be removed by a licensed contractor and managed by an environmental consulting firm. Non-friable asbestos cannot be crumbled or become powdery by hand pressure, thus typically not as dangerous as asbestos that creates dust. However, it is possible for the material to be become powdery when removing it from areas where it was glued into place, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The school construction authority budgeted more than $8.5 million for the project, according to its September 2017 report.
The city, which had an after-hours permit, installed sidewalk sheds, or as it is usually referred to as scaffolding, late last month.
Located at 3961 Hillman Ave., P.S./M.S. 95 serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
The Amalgamated is located at 98 Van Cortlandt Park S., and is considered the oldest equity housing cooperative in the nation. Founded in 1927, it houses more than 1,500 moderate-income families, according to its website.
“Sometimes things just need to be fixed and it’s a minor inconvenience,” said Ariel Nadelstern, a resident at the Amalgamated. “But on the other side of that, we have a beautiful place to live.”