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NYPD too tight-lipped on police academy: CB 7

Members of Community Board 7 are growing concerned over the lack of contact from the New York Police Department about its proposed $1.2 billion police academy in College Point.

The city hopes to construct its one-stop shop for police training on a 35-acre piece of city-owned land in College Point. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly originally announced the plan last April.

But after a scoping meeting last month, CB 7 Vice Chairman and Zoning Committee Chairman Chuck Apelian said he is not happy with the degree of public outreach on the project. Apelian told CB 7 members last month that the plan is unclear and seems to change each time he hears about it.

"If they expect our support, then they better start talking to us and working with us," Apelian said in a phone interview. "We want to know what they're building."

The new facility would bring NYPD programs such as emergency vehicles and firearms training, which currently take place in the Bronx and Brooklyn miles from the police academy's Manhattan site, into one site with 250 classrooms, a field house, a tactical village, facilities to mimic prisoner processing stations and a simulated subway station to permit training in biological, chemical and radiological attacks. There would be space for 2,000 recruits per year and refresher programs for officers and members of other law enforcement agencies.

The parcel of land is roughly bordered by 28th Avenue to the north, Ulmer Street to the east, 31st Avenue to the south and College Point Boulevard to the west.

Before construction can begin the police academy project must go through the public approval, or ULURP, process during which CB 7 will be the first to vote on it.

A spokesman for the NYPD said the city is currently conducting a series of studies on the plan's expected impact on the surrounding community.

He said the city will continue to work with members of the community as the project moves forward and will keep them abreast of details as they become available.

City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he has not been satisfied by the community outreach thus far and said it is symptomatic of the Bloomberg administration's approach to development.

"This is just how the Bloomberg administration goes about things. There's no planning at the local level," said Avella, a 2009 mayoral candidate. "But if they think that they're just going to do anything they want without confronting the community, they've got another thing coming."

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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