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The differences between the Chinese- and Korean-American businesses in downtown Flushing are noticeable. The signs for most businesses are written in the language of the owner. These businesses have breathed new life into Flushing and made it one of the most prosperous areas in the city.
For decades these groups have co-existed in Flushing, but the city’s plan for an $850 million development in the heart of Flushing has shown that serious divisions exist. The project, Flushing Commons, is a mix of residential, retail and office space.
Although Flushing is overcrowded, TimesLedger Newspapers has been supportive of the project that will result in the creation of hundreds of construction and retail jobs. The Chinese-owned businesses are enthusiastic about the development.
But the Korean-owned businesses are apprehensive. They believe the redevelopment will result in the loss of many customers during construction, which will temporarily eliminate more than a thousand public parking spaces. The 5-acre metered municipal parking lot will be replaced by a privately run parking garage with even more spaces. The Koreans say if their customers cannot easily and cheaply park, they will shop elsewhere.
The city Economic Development Corp. must find a way to address these fears.
Charter Schools Play Valuable Role
In a letter published in last week’s TimesLedger editions, Chet Szarejko raised questions about the growing number of city charter schools. Although we disagree with Szarejko’s conclusions, we recognize he speaks for many New Yorkers who believe the charter schools threaten the public education system.
Although the administrators and teachers at the charter schools are paid, the schools are not, as Szarejko wrote, “profit-making enterprises.” This is a common misunderstanding. Oversight for each school is provided by a nonprofit board of trustees.
Parents like these schools because they work and believe their children are getting a quality education. Most importantly, charter schools give parents a choice. They are closely monitored by the city Department of Education and are held to the same standards set for public schools.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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