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Reyes rallies against any homeless shelter in CB 5

Richard Matzelle (r.) collects petitions and Ingrid Stehle holds a sign for drivers in opposition to a plan to build a homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Forest Hills lawyer with his sights set on a primary election for state Senate addressed the possible Glendale homeless shelter Saturday — a topic weighing heavily on the minds of voters in the neighborhood.

Juan Reyes, who is challenging City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) in the primary for the 15th Senate District set for Sept. 13, rallied with community members in front of the property, at 78-17 Cooper Ave.

“This neighborhood is all residential with a small pocket of manufacturing,” he said. “Door after door, people are here living their lives, raising their kids and paying off mortgages. There is no homeless problem here.”

Earlier this month, rumors began swirling that the owner of the property had met with a nonprofit to discuss the possibility of transforming the site into a homeless shelter. Community Board 5 and the city Department of Homeless Services have since dismissed the rumors, saying many obstacles would stand in the way of construction of any type of shelter at this site.

Reyes said residents should still send letters to their Council member and City Hall demanding the city build something on the property to benefit the community.

“We don’t need something that’s going to bring down property values and create a dangerous situation,” he said. “We need a park or something that gives back to the neighborhood. I understand this building has been vacant for 20 years, but this is not a solution.”

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