NYCHA residents plead for scaffold removal
by Salvatore Isola
Sep 11, 2019 | 1925 views | 0 0 comments | 140 140 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents at Howard Houses in Brownsville have one simple task for the city: take down the scaffolds.

Residents say the eyesore has been a longtime problem on Thatford Avenue, exacerbated by years of unanswered requests.

The sidewalk sheds total 530 feet in length, circling three buildings. They were installed in April 2016 in to “protect the public from overhead unsafe conditions on the building façade,” according to a statement from NYCHA.

But resident Naomi Johnson, the tenant association president and resident of 40 years, said she has not seen any falling bricks.

Residents also say the scaffolding has become a haven for mosquitoes, as well as having negative public safety impacts.

“It covers the windows, it covers the doors,” Johnson said. “So if people are coming down the walkway and something happens to them, you can’t see it.”

Borough President Eric Adams said his office was given a dismantling date of June 2019 for the scaffolding. He called the agency’s delay “unimaginable.”

“We’re talking about dismantling, we’re not talking about building something here,” Adams said at the site last week. “It’s about taking the necessary tools to dismantle an object around the building.”

“What good is the lighting when you can’t see it because the scaffolding is continuing to keep a shadow of darkness over our communities?” asked Assemblywoman Latrice Walker.

Walker added that the dirt and debris that accumulates on top of the scaffolds is contributing to childhood asthma.

Adams also wondered if the scaffolds are being rented and by whom. If they are being rented by an outside company, Adams speculated that there might be “shady” activity to prolong rental fees.

“If the project is done, why are we still paying money if we are renting this scaffolding,” he asked.

In a statement, the New York City Housing Authority indicated the scaffolds can only be removed if they can confirm there is no risk to residents. Additionally, repair work for the buildings is “anticipated to start in spring 2020.”

In addition, NYCHA said it has spent over $750,000 for the “installation, rental, and continued maintenance” of the scaffolds.

Johnson also expressed frustration at the expense.

“The money they are spending keeping these scaffolds up, could you imagine how many repairs could have been done?” she said.
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