According to Mike Papa, a leader in the coalition, a pick-up truck is sitting in front of the factory site now with multiple signs and banners on it.
“Tell this corrupt mayor we will not allow him to compromise the safety of our children while stealing our community resources,” one sign reads.
Papa said one focus of the rally will be the educational needs in the area. In particular, he said District 24 is “4,000 seats short” and needs more schools.
He said the area also needs an additional District 75 school for special needs children. Despite the Department of Education (DOE) pumping $16 million into improvements into PS 9, a District 75 school located in an industrial part of Maspeth, Papa said the students still face tough conditions.
For example, Papa said, the students spend as much as four hours a day traveling to and from school. The principal of PS 9 goes to seven locations a day because of the “shortage of space.”
“They’re operating at 130 percent capacity,” Papa said. “An additional facility is what’s needed.”
The coalition leader also feels that the opening of a shelter is political payback from the de Blasio administration and Chancellor Carranza against Councilman Bob Holden for speaking out about the problems at Maspeth High School.
“It feels like a retaliatory act,” he said.
At the rally on Saturday, Papa said they will also focus on what he believes the shelter actually is: a halfway house (See letter on cover). Papa argues the community resources should go toward affordable housing, seniors and schools, not a halfway house.
“They should move on to somewhere they are needed and welcomed,” he wrote.