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We are baffled and disappointed by Councilman Tony Avella’s ongoing war against InSpa World in College Point. In his latest attack, he is asking that the spa be closed down because of minor FDNY violations. These violations need to be addressed, but there is no suggestion that InSpa is a firetrap.
The violations include blocked exits, inadequate exit signs, double cylinder locks, no proof of flame proofing and failure to maintain a fire suppression system. These problems can be easily addressed.
Said Avella: “I find it completely disgraceful and unacceptable that the facility has remained in operation under such blatant negligence and mismanagement. This building should be shut down immediately until all corrections are made.”
Take a breath, Councilman. Given the city’s economy, it is disappointing to see an elected official take such an anti−business stance. InSpa’s owners have made a significant investment and created one of the most beautiful and apparently successful health spas in Queens. This business has generated jobs and contributed taxes to the city.
At first, some residents were afraid that the Korean−run spa would be nothing more than a brothel. A number of brothels with Asian prostitutes have been closed in nearby Flushing, but that is not the case here. InSpa’s owners provide a legitimate service.
It is likely that some of the negativity comes from older residents who harbor racist feelings and resent the influx of Korean− and Chinese−Americans buying homes in northeast Queens. For decades, College Point was the land that time forgot. InSpa is indicative of the change that has taken place.
We do not believe people entering or leaving the spa have had a major impact on traffic. InSpa’s patrons stay for an hour or more. A drug store or pizzeria would create more traffic.
As College Point’s councilman, Avella should have been working to broker an understanding between residents and InSpa management. But he has instead decided to cater to the irrational fears of the racists who opposed InSpa from the start.
Avella would like to be the next mayor. He does not strengthen his case by acting like a bully.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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