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Activist warns Pepsi plant prime for vandals

Community leaders and activists in Ferry Point are worried about the rear of the massive new Pepsi Bottling plant in the community becoming a haven for graffiti once a work fence comes down and the building directly abuts a new sidewalk.

JoAnne Sohmers of Ferry Point Civic Association, Inc. and Dotti Poggi of the Ferry Point Community Advocates both said that they are worried about the rear of the new Pepsi Cola and Canada Dry Bottling Company of New York plant bordered by the Hutchinson River Parkway, Jay Place, Senger Place, and Brush Avenue becoming a Mecca for graffiti because it was not set back from a new sidewalk next to the street.

The sidewalk is being installed next to the plant along the Hutchinson River Parkway service road, and will directly abut the side of the building, providing a canvass for illegal scrawl stretching hundreds of feet.

“I am concerned because graffiti artists always look for a large canvas and this building is quite a large canvas,” Sohmers said. “A spokesperson for Holt construction said that they are going to put eight foot tall plants growing along side the building, but that the Department of Buildings would not approve a fence so close to the structure. Possibly, we could ask Community Board 10 to look into getting a variance. I am not sure how long it would take those plants to fully mature.”

The entire building takes up six acres. Poggi said that a man who owns a home near the corner of the Hutchinson River Parkway service road and Senger Place has to constantly remove graffiti from the side of his property, and had to replace a full fence with a chain link fence because his property was getting tagged with urban scrawl. She fears that the Pepsi plant a few doors down will succumb to the same fate.

Poggi said that she was also concerned about the front of the building, which will face Brush Avenue, as it too will have portions where there will be large walls that are ripe for graffiti artists.

“Pepsi Bottling is also constructing a large concrete wall on Brush Avenue as part of the building project,” Poggi stated.

The positives coming from the development is that Pepsi Bottling is putting in at least three catch basins along Brush Avenue that didn’t exist before. Poggi thinks that the catch basins will mitigate some issues the street has with flooding during heavy rains. Much of the west side of the street does not have catch basins, according to Poggi.

Poggi said this is relevant because the Department of Environmental Protection is no longer considering installing catch basins in parts of the Ferry Point community where they do not exist at the present time.

Calls placed to the Pepsi Cola and Canada Dry Bottling Company in College Point, N.Y. were not returned as of press time.

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