18 THE QUEENS COURIER • FEBRUARY 28, 2013 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.queenscourier.com WIN A FREE DINNER!! Victim dead before blaze Garden School greenspace blooming BY ANGY ALTAMIRANO email@example.com Just in time for spring, Jackson Heights residents have been given new park space to enjoy. Last March, the city announced its purchase of the athletic field at the Garden School, a private learning facility, which, combined with Travers Park, located across the street from the school, will offer the community a larger recreational space. “Jackson Heights is one of the most densely-populated and diverse neighborhoods in New York City, and one most in need of parkland for its community,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. As of last week, NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Service had completed the $6 million acquisition of the 24,600-square-foot asphalt play yard owned by the school. The settlement with the Garden School comes as the city follows its goal of developing original methods to increase residents’ access to neighborhood open spaces. As of 2007, 229 “Schoolyards to Playgrounds” sites have been opened to the public as part of the Bloomberg administration’s PlaNYC initiative. Yet, this is the first time the city has created an agreement with a private school. “Working with the city was terrific,” said Arthur Gruen, president of the Board of Trustees, and Richard Marotta, headmaster of the Garden School. “We are very pleased to join with our community in establishing this permanent open space for our Garden School family and for all of our neighbors.” The new parkland will be available for public use outside school hours, including weekend and summer months, with the ball field open for baseball and softball leagues during these times. “Every New Yorker should have access to adequate parks and recreational opportunities,” said Travers park across the street from Garden School play yard. Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “The residents of Jackson Heights deserve this.” As part of the agreement, the Garden School is receiving a five-year lease agreement for the exclusive use of the property during the school year between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. At all other times, NYC THE COURIER/Photo By Angy Altamirano Parks will manage the site as a public park. NYC Parks plans to install a property line fence separating the site being acquired from the remaining Garden School property. A final design for the property will be developed and once completed, will be accessible to the public from 78th to 79th Streets. BY MAGGIE HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org After extinguishing a two-alarm blaze in South Richmond Hill, firefighters made a grisly discovery: the man inside the second-story apartment had been bound and shot in the head. On Sunday, February 24 at approximately 2:35 a.m., police responded to a 9-1-1 call of a fire inside an apartment above a bodega on 95th Avenue. Once the fire was put out, officers discovered the victim, a 43-year-old Asian man, unconscious and unresponsive with severe burns. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The fire has been deemed “suspicious” by the FDNY and NYPD, and various media reports say the victim was found tied by his hands and feet, and was shot. Neighbors say that the scene was scary and chaotic. “I had my window cracked a little bit, I woke up and my room was filled with smoke,” said Pavneet Kaur who lives just a few doors down from the scene of the crime. “There was so much smoke, the entire street was filled. You couldn’t see anything.” Kaur said that people were out on the streets, screaming for all of their neighbors to wake up and get outside. “We were sleeping, and we heard someone shouting, so we came outside,” said Nerinden Kaur. “If it was windy, the fire could have spread to another house. Right now we all feel scared.” Although those who live in the neighborhood do not know much about the victim, they are surprised that this incident could happen on their quiet block. “This is a nice neighborhood,” said one resident who did not wish to give his name. “There are two churches right around the block. This is very strange news.” On Monday, the day after the fire, a cleaning crew was on the scene, removing debris and securing the area. The investigation is ongoing. THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes A two-alarm blaze in South Richmond Hill revealed a man reportedly bound, shot and burned to death. Fill out our online Parent Survey for a chance to win a gift certificate to Papazzio Restaurant in Bayside. Go to www.queenscourier. com/parentsurvey to enter.
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