Ten years after it turned a city park into a trailer park, the Department of Education says it is almost ready to remove two temporary classrooms from a Leif Ericson Park — but neighbors worry that the tin-walled learning boxes may have become permanent fixtures.
When the Department of Education installed the bright red trailers across the street from the Telecommunication HS in 1998, the portable classrooms were supposed to stay for just one year while the school underwent renovations.
But the work took four years, and before workers could remove the trailers — which block the 67th Street and Fourth Avenue entrance to the park — the city announced that they would remain until an annex was built for the school.
When construction on the annex finished last year, Ridgites were ready for the temporary classrooms to go — but the trailers remained, even though students no longer are using them.
“They always find a new reason to leave the trailers there,” said Jim O’Dea, former president of the 67th Street Block Association, who has railed against the trailers for a decade. “No one wants to put the students out there in the street, but after the annex was built, the school has no more use for the trailers.”
Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg begged to differ.
“We are conducting extensive work at the [school] and need the trailers for construction purposes,” Feinberg said. “Once the work is completed at the school, we are going to remove the trailers and rehabilitate the park. We have funding for removing trailers and will do so when the work at the school is completed.”
According to Assistant Principal Patricia Rogers, workers are currently renovating the auditorium. That project should be done by the end of the year — which can’t come too soon for school officials, who are eager for the trailers to leave.
“We moved out of them completely on Feb. 1 — we’re ready for them to go,” Rodgers said.
Even though the temporary classrooms haven’t budged in a decade, O’Dea has a plan to get them out of the park.
“They’ve been telling me the same thing for 10 years,” O’Dea said. “But this time they are going to move — or we’ll bring this to court.”