Residents Question Need for Monte’s Riverdale Complex
By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, MARCH 7- After disposing of two applications for home alterations in the Special Nature area of Community Board 8 the meeting became very interesting.
This month representatives of Montefiore Hospital and Simone Developers were on hand to discuss the progress of the proposed 11 story medical center on Oxford/Riverdale Avenues. The crowd was half the size of previous meetings on the subject, but they were as boisterous as in past meetings. Ms. Lynn Richmond the Chief of Staff of Montefiore Hospital and Mr. Jeffrey Moerdler the lawyer for Simone Developers were on hand, and by the end of the meeting you could almost see the scalping that was given to the two. Since Mr. Jeff Moerdler is a blood relative of CB 8 Land Use Chair Charles Moerdler this part of the meeting was turned over to the Vice-Chair to proceed.
Ms. Richmond (of Montefiore) started off by giving the statistics of how many people in CB 8 use one of the six locations in CB 8 that Montefiore Hospital runs. She said that Montefiore wants to consolidate these six sites into one site where their patients could receive full services rather than having to go to several different locations. She added that Montefiore has asked Simone Developers to find and build such a site.
Mr. Jeffrey Moerdler (representing Simone) said that he was not at the meeting with the local elected officials where there was a mix up in what Simone was going to do. He said that Simone is going to build the medical center, and that the plans were not withdrawn only put on hold. He added that no new plans for the medical center have been submitted as of yet, and that Simone is in dialogue with Montefiore to address the community concerns.
Vice-Chair Martin Wolpoff asked for the data that Montefiore speaks of the community needs, if Montefiore is wedded to this particular site on Oxford/Riverdale Avenues, or could this medical center be built at a different site in CB 8. Ms. Richmond responded by saying that Montefiore is looking at other options, has looked at other sites, but this is the best suited site for Montefiore in CB 8.
Four speakers who are residents around the proposed medical center spoke against the proposal. One said that two days after he moved in the demolition work started, one showed a photo of Oxford Avenue with snow drifts from the recent snow storms, one questioned the need for the medical center, and one was just against the proposal.
Since the state legislatures were in Albany only Councilman Andrew Cohen was on hand to say that both Montefiore and Simone appear to be working together to try to address the community and elected officials concerns, and had representatives at this meeting. Ms. Richmond responded that Montefiore has data showing that Riverdale is an under served in certain areas and in time for an appointment. She added that Montefiore has asked that the project be put on hold to listen to community concerns. Mr. Jeffrey Moerdler then explained as to why the Department of Buildings may have rejected the plans because of the hold and probable changes to the plans.
It was then time for the community board members to respond. A questions of vibrations during construction had no response. A question of the status of the demolition work was answered that the project is on hold, and to shouts from the audience that the house on Oxford Avenue was indeed demolished Mr. J. Moerdler said that he was unaware of it. A question of the board seeing the amended plans before presentation to the D.O.B. was answered YES. A question of another location on Broadway and West 236th Street was answered that it is not a good site for Montefiore. A question as to where the six sites are was answered in Riverdale and Kingsbridge. A question of if Montefiore is committed to the Riverdale site how can they be looking at other sites was answered that Montefiore is committed to the Riverdale site. A question of funding was answered that Montefiore is not building the medical center Simone is, and that no government funding will be used since the site is not being classified as an under served site. To a statement that Simone is looking to lower the height of the building and having a vehicle entrance on Riverdale Avenue, Mr. J. Moerdler said yes.
The audience was then asked for comments. Former Councilman Oliver Koppell (whose wife is a real estate agent) asked if he found an alternate site would Montefiore consider that site. The answer was that right now Montefiore is working with Simone on the Riverdale site. He said that he uses the Montefiore site on Johnson Avenue, adding that if someone needs additional tests or services that they could go to another Montefiore site that would have that test or service. Koppell then appeared to put on his State Senate candidate hat by making a speech against the proposed site, and saying that if Montefiore does not go elsewhere the local elected officials should turn down any funding for Montefiore. Others spoke against the proposed medical center with a response by Ms. Richmond that some sort of administrative certificate would be needed for the medical center.
Do you have a location in Riverdale that you would to find this paper? If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column otr on my blog you can e-mail us at email@example.com or call 718- 644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.