Some Kew Gardens business owners are hoping a petition helps save their buildings from demolition. The businesses sit atop a bridge for the Long Island Railroad. NY1's Gene Apodaca filed the following report on this story we've been following for months.
As Nathalie Reid minds her counter here at Thyme Natural Market, her mind is somewhere else.
“They’re not talking about a compensation for any of the tenants that are here right now, so that just means close the doors and you’re done,” said Reid.
It's been an issue plaguing business owners for years: Threats that their shops, which sit atop this bridge over the Long Island Railroad on Lefferts Boulevard will be torn down.
But it wasn't until recently that those threats took on new urgency.
The MTA, which owns the bridge, says the structure is falling apart.
At meeting just three weeks ago, Council Member Karen Koslowitz says the agency spelled out the worst case scenario.
Although the council member says that the MTA did not officially announce it will be tearing down this bridge, she says that’s the impression she was left with.
“That is unacceptable, unless it’s so dangerous, it’s unacceptable you have store here’s that are in business they’ve been here a very long time,” said Koslowitz.
Business owners blame the bridge’s condition, in part, on the master licensee, Zee N Kay Management. They say building issues, specifically leaking pipes, caused holes in the floor leading to the bridges decay.
“Had that been taken care of we would have been in a good position that never took place,“ said business owner, Pradeep Agarwal.
They also blame the MTA for not doing routine maintenance.
Recently, business owners started this petition hoping to rally the community behind their efforts to save the bridge, and their livelihoods.
“People have lived here for 50, 60 years they don’t want the bridge torn down, they don’t want the stores torn down,” said Reid.
A representative for Zee and Kay Management told us, they are not responsible undersides of the buildings or the rear walls. He says whatever issues have been reported internally were corrected immediately.
A spokesperson for the MTA told us they’re committed to working with the community to find the best possible outcome for this location.
Council Woman Koslowitz says she’s working to get her own engineers to study the bridge to see if demolition can be avoided.
Meanwhile, for the business owners, a solution can’t come soon enough.