Jersey Street Sanitation Garage Finally Moving

After Mayor DeBlasio announced that he included funding for the construction of a new District 1 Sanitation Garage at the Fresh Kills Landfill, the Staten Island Advance took a look at their archives to determine how discussions about moving the garage has progressed through the years.

It began in 1990s when residents of Castleton Avenue, Brook and Jersey Streets began complaining about the smell on hot days and began wondering if the refuse that was causing the smell could be toxic. They asked the city to move the garage out of a residential neighborhood.

Later on community activists called for the garage to be moved to the Teleport area which had been pegged as the future home of clean industry. Some elected jumped on board with the idea if only to prove their point.

Five years ago a Sanitation official stated, “I’m not going to lie to you or sugarcoat things. The garage is Not … Going … Anywhere. There is no money for a garage to be built anywhere else. We’re working on details to get the parked trucks off the streets, but moving that garage is not happening.”

At the time, Councilwoman Debi Rose estimated the cost to move the garage would be about $30 million dollars.

Now that Mayor DeBlasio has taken office, the money to construct a new District 1 garage on the Fresh Kills Landfill property has been put in the 10-year capital plan. The plan which was recently released by the mayor earmarks $111 million for construction of the replacement garage; some $13.6 million would be set aside for the facility in the four-year plan.

“The city finally listened to us,” an exultant Ms. Rose said. “I see this as the linchpin of the redevelopment of Jersey Street and that area — the garage has been an impediment to its economic development.”

Economic development is a key factor in the city’s change of heart on this issue. The New York Wheel, Empire Outlets, Lighthouse Point, URL at Navy Pier and a host of other large scale mixed use projects which are being constructed with private money has given elected officials hope that the North Shore will be a “Gold Coast” gateway to the borough

“We see all the great things that are happening on the waterfront,” Borough President James Oddo said recently about the North Shore transformation. “We know we can move inland.”

Zoning for the Jersey Street garage would permit the construction of multi level housing with retail.

“All of those would benefit the community,” Ms. Rose said. “This would bring the North Shore development inland.”

Real estate broker James Prendamano said the Jersey Street property “certainly can be spoken about in the same vein as the Wheel and Outlets, the home port and Lighthouse projects, and the courthouse. It all ties in.”

Borough President Oddo, who has been championing economic development on the North Shore recognizes the significance of moving the garage out of the neighborhood.

“There is really no overstating how important this news is to the community that lives adjacent to this garage,” he said in a statement. “This facility was more than an impediment to improving the neighborhood. It was more than a physical and psychological albatross. And its removal is the first step in unlocking the potential of this community.”

Some Staten Island Advance readers are complaining that the facility will now be located closer to their neighborhoods, but outgoing South Shore Councilman Vincent Ignizio, whose district borders where the new facility will be said, “We are one Staten Island. This is something we’ve discussed for several years that I think will benefit the North Shore without significantly impacting my own district.”Construction of the new facility is slated to begin in 2019