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NYC commits to security cameras, improved signage, lighting and more at long-standing Staten Island eyesore

NYC commits to security cameras, improved signage, lighting and more at long-standing Staten Island eyesore

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — An abandoned government building has become a St. George eyesore, but the city has promised to improve its upkeep, the Advance/ has learned.

In a recent letter to Borough President Vito Fossella and Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks (D-North Shore), Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Dawn Pinnock wrote about the agency’s plans to improve conditions at the city Department of Health’s old district health center at 51 Stuyvesant Place.

“[DCAS] takes your concerns seriously and has developed a plan towards achieving a lasting resolution, which includes measures that are actively being implemented,” Pinnock wrote. “We look forward to working with you while we continue to work with our city partners towards a definitive solution that will promote and preserve the peace of the local community residing near 51 Stuyvesant Place.”

Specifically, Pinnock outlined new security measures at the site — including a security camera, improved signage, lighting and monitoring in partnership with the NYPD — and improved maintenance.

Pinnock said DCAS could not safely complete the long-sought removal of sidewalk scaffolding, up since late 2013, because of the deteriorated conditions of the building’s facade.

Ivy has overtaken large swaths of the 38,000-square-foot, 5-story building, and Pinnock wrote that DCAS is working to secure contractors to prune overgrown vegetation, remove dead trees and bushes, and install fencing on the sides of the building to fully secure the site.

“At the request of neighbors, the Borough President and myself demanded DCAS brighten and maintain their own property,” Hanks said. “Rest assured, we will continue to advocate for this taxpayer-owned asset in our vital downtown, to be renovated for our use, and until then it’s exterior will be clean and safe.”

Advance records indicate the building, for which Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia laid the cornerstone in 1936, once served a vital purpose for the community as the Staten Island headquarters for the city Health Department, which fully vacated the site in 2018.

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia lays the cornerstone of the Richmond District Health Center in St. George as officials look on. (Staten Island Advance file)

Hanks and Fossella have partnered with the city to launch the North Shore Action Plan, a $400 million public investment in the area that notably left the city-owned building out of the plan, but the two are working with Mayor Eric Adams’ administration to find a new future for the building.

“We have heard many safety and quality of life concerns about the former Health Department building on Stuyvesant Place, which has long been closed,” Fossella said. “It is our hope that for the near future, the patrols, fencing, and lighting will improve safety near the structure, and that eventually, 51 Stuyvesant Place will be repurposed to become something of value to the St. George community once more.”

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The article was first published here

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