Readers Write: Great Neck Manor residents oppose ambulance unit building on Cumberland Ave.

Readers Write: Great Neck Manor residents oppose ambulance unit building on Cumberland Ave.

We, the concerned residents of Great Neck Manor and surrounding areas, express our strong opposition to the proposed construction of an ambulance unit building on Cumberland Avenue that is strictly residential within the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire District.

We firmly believe that this development would significantly and adversely impact our quality of life, compromise the safety of our children, exacerbate traffic issues, contribute to congestion in the area, and highlight a lack of early direct communication with the affected residents and a total disregard of residents’ strong voices and concerns that were related to Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department many times.

The plan to build a new ambulance unit on Cumberland Avenue, costing over $11 million, has raised serious concerns among residents. The projected location on Cumberland Avenue poses significant challenges in terms of navigation and accessibility of the ambulance services.

The narrow section of the roads leading to the proposed project site would make it difficult for emergency vehicles, additional firefighters, and accompanying equipment to maneuver effectively. These points have been repeatedly delivered to the fire department numerous times by many residents who have been residing in the areas for many decades.

Coupled with constant congestion on Lakeville Road, Community Drive, and neighboring roads leading to the proposed site, this lack of space and accessibility not only hinders emergency response efforts but also raises deep concerns about the safety of our community.

Our deep-seated discontent stems from the glaring lack of timely and direct communication with the residents directly impacted by the project prior to the first scheduled bond vote in last June 2023 that was postponed due to the strong opposition from the residents.

The fire department overseeing the ambulance unit has shown a lamentable dearth of meaningful engagement with the Great Neck Manor community and neighboring areas, recklessly ignoring the well-being and concerns of those most affected. We adamantly assert that transparency and candid dialogue are non-negotiable requisites for adequately addressing our concerns.

Despite the relentless opposition voiced by residents, the fire department persists in its dismissive stance, pressing forward with another bond vote scheduled for October 2023, heedless of any of the residents’ valid concerns.

Constructing the Cumberland Avenue Ambulance Unit Building without considering its impact on our quality of life is a grave concern.

Our community values its peaceful and residential character, which would be severely compromised by the addition of an ambulance unit proposed to be built right in front of residential homes.

The ensuing chaos, noise, and logistical nightmare during construction, coupled with the anticipated ceaseless presence of emergency vehicles, and siren blaring, would irreparably disrupt the tranquility of our neighborhood, casting a pall on our well-being and overall contentment with our living environment.

The constricting roads leading to the proposed site would render it a virtual obstacle course for emergency vehicles, additional firefighters, and associated equipment. These concerns have been repeatedly and unequivocally conveyed to the Fire Department by long-standing residents, whose roots in the area span decades.

Moreover, the safety of our children must not be overlooked. Cumberland Avenue is home to many families with young children who play and traverse the area regularly and walk for school buses.

Immediately next to the front gate of the proposed ambulance unit is the Great Neck Manor Park where most children in the area frequently visit and play in groups as well.

The increased traffic resulting from the ambulance unit’s operations would introduce additional risks, making it unsafe for children to move freely within their own neighborhoods. It is our duty to protect our children and ensure their safety at all times.

In light of the aforementioned concerns, we, the vigilant residents, stand in firm opposition to the construction of the Cumberland Avenue Ambulance Unit Building. We underscore the following pressing questions and concerns regarding the proposed project:

  1. No public impact study for the facility was conducted.
  2. The 14 sites that were dismissed were never disclosed by MLFD.
  3. The traffic study, in August 2023 after vehement resident opposition, is deeply flawed on several counts. It inadequately addressed crucial streets such as Pond Hill, Community Drive, Northern Boulevard, and Lakeville Road, and omitted consideration of the Adult Center and Great Neck Manor Park and children’s playground, all situated on Cumberland. Moreover, the streets around the curve are manifestly unsafe, with cars unable to maintain their lanes, rendering the study’s conclusions utterly baseless. The study’s impartiality is further compromised by its selection, having used the project Manager/Architects of the proposed project, a glaring conflict of interest.
  4. The commissioners boldly assert that there will be no fiscal burden on taxpayers, but the origin of the necessary funds remains conspicuously absent.
  5. MLFD continues to obfuscate essential financial details, including the cost of the bond, interest rate, commission to bond manager, term of bond, and projected monthly amortization cost.
  6. MLFD has failed to provide a credible explanation as to why they cannot utilize any of their existing properties or modify an existing property with a firehouse.
  7. MLFD has adamantly refused to accommodate any of the concerns and voices raised by the residents, exhibiting a shocking disregard for public input.
  8. The budget presented is devoid of substance, with mere cursory statements and a conspicuously unexplained allocation of $2.2 million in “Soft Costs” by MLFD.

We urgently implore the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department to reconsider the ill-conceived project on Cumberland Avenue and to seek better-suited locations that prioritize the well-being and concerns of the residents.

We once again urge you to earnestly consider our grievances and take swift action to rectify them, by canceling the bond vote scheduled for Oct. 10, 2023.

We demand you to explore alternative avenues for the project that mitigate the deleterious impact on Cumberland Avenue and guarantee the sustained harmony of our residential enclave.

Concerned Citizens and Taxpayers

Youngsoo Choi

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