Column from WSZIO by Sandi Lusk
Everyone is up in arms about the $800,000,000 of taxpayer’s money going for the Buffalo Bills Stadium, and rightly so. But I can top that one: $430,000,000 for a 3-story building to house 200 single homeless men on Blondell Avenue. Yes, folks the cost to clean up the toxic and waterlogged site has gone from $350,000,000 to $430,000,000. Think of that huge amount of money, it boggles the mind.
One of our conscientious members found the following information online:
For 1347 Blondell Avenue for a homeless shelter and health clinic:
Development Cost $430,000,000 (including all soft costs and hard costs). The report was done by Andrew Knox - Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects and was sent to the office of then Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. The developer is Dan Shavolian who is known as a developer of homeless shelters throughout the city. The site will be 37,803 sq feet and 3 floors. This debacle was supposed to begin June 2021 and end Dec 2022.
As if this is not bad enough, consider this: a soil boring survey was done at the site, which found evidence of water between 8-10 feet below the surface (it is a recognized flood zone because a creek runs below it).
At the Blondell Commons site, which is adjoining at 1346, the DEC stated:
“Volatile organic compounds in the groundwater may move into the
soil vapor (air spaces within the soil), which in turn may move into overlying
buildings and affect the indoor air quality. This process, which is similar to the movement of radon gas from the subsurface into the indoor air of buildings, is
referred to as soil vapor intrusion. The potential exists for people to inhale site
contaminants due to soil vapor intrusion in any future redevelopment and
occupancy.” 1347 has the SAME toxic history, if not worse.
So, let me recap. The city is planning on spending $430,000,000 of your tax dollars to house 200 homeless men in a 3-story building on a toxic site with a water table of @8 -10 feet. The building has been delayed until 2024, but it should just be killed! This is an outrageous and ridiculous expenditure. We have contacted the new Borough President, the Comptroller, our councilperson, and our state senator about this insanity. This goes beyond the bounds of rationality. It must be one of the biggest boondoggles since a conman in 1824 named Lozier told people to show up with their saws to saw off part of Manhattan Island or it would sink. The development of the Blondell site will be a toxic disaster and quagmire. Can no one stop this insanity?
And now a few choice words for those who recommended this wonderful site to DHS, as well as another “ideal” site for 200 homeless men just yards away from the Easter Seals Bronx Developmental Center playground. Obviously in recommending these terrible sites for homeless shelters you did not do your homework and were only interested in sites on the periphery of your district. These decisions you have made so lightly have the potential to change communities and the health of so many people who will have to live with this for decades. The White Plains Road shelter has been killed, and these 2 also need to go. Maybe next time you recommend and put forward a site for a shelter (and I’m looking at you CB 11) you will at least do the right thing and research it first.