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Civic groups offer plans for Jay Street’s future

A petition that circulated through the Ferry Point community calling for the creation of a community garden on a city-owned green space garnered some support recently, but there is still a disagreement among neighbors over what is best for the small parcel of land.

Jay Place, a mostly unpaved and a seldom used city street contains an L-shaped parcel of land that represents the last open space within the Ferry Point community. The land is adjacent to private homes on Senger Place and Brush Avenue, and a brand-new Pepsi bottling plant between Brush Avenue and Hutchinson River Parkway.

The future of Jay Place seems to be headed in the direction of some sort of the community park, but that is where the dispute between two different civic groups begins.

“We want Jay Place to be a community garden,” said JoAnn Sohmers, president of the Ferry Point Civic Association. “It should be kept as natural as possible, but made available to the community for its uses. Maybe we can even have a vegetable garden where children can learn about nature.”

Rather than lose the oasis and have it turned into a street, Sohmers and FPCA vice-presidents Jacqueline Pindea and Jose Morales went door-to-door in Ferry Point carrying a petition supporting transforming Jay Place into a community park. They collected 54 signatures.

The petition has been sent to Community Board 10, which plans to move on the request soon. For DOT to de-map a street and turn it over to another agency, a process called Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) must take place.

With Jay Place, this would include a public comment period before the community board. Turning Jay Place into a park would clear up much of the community’s concerns.

“We would like to see Jay Place cleaned up and fenced off,” Sohmers said. “We are worried about dumping, or someone possibly even setting a car on fire in there, as has happened on Senger Place.”

Dotti Poggi, the leader of the Ferry Point Community Advocates sees the situation with Jay Place differently than many of her neighbors. Poggi said the community needs to discuss the plans in a public forum before proceeding. She thinks the area could be used as a parking lot.

“There is no reason that Jay Place should be completed; it is an antique street that is useless for through traffic,” Poggi said. “I understand that this is a growing neighborhood. We may someday need to pave over Jay Place and make it a parking lot for our new residents.”

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