Readers Write: GN Plaza Mayor Jean Celender disrespects constituents

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Our self-serving excuse for a mayor has once again stabbed her constituents in the back.

Several years ago, Jean Celender selfishly prevented the Great Neck Park District from acquiring the unused parking garage under the post office for the purpose of adding additional commuter parking. She outbid the Park District and promised to turn the space into a sorely needed residential parking garage for residents of the Welwyn/Shoreward area. Clearly, Celender had no intention of keeping her promise, as she has been ignoring the needs of residents of this area for as long as she has been mayor.

This week news came down the information pipeline that the unused parking garage under the post office has now been rented to a local auto dealer for use as a car storage facility. The post office finally did what they needed to do to rent the space because after several years of planned procrastination by the village on the promised residential garage, Jean Celender ultimately refused to pay the required rent — even though those renting the spaces from the village would have covered the amount and also given a profit to the village. No surprise.

So now any hope of a parking garage to alleviate the horrendous parking problem caused by the village has been dashed. And you can be sure that Jean Celender is pleased with her decision.

The same lack of the mayor’s concern for her constituents follows through across the board. Just take a look at what’s going on with the Welwyn/Shoreward TEP project.

Celender’s grant for the TEP project — to which she added a big chunk of our local tax dollars — provided about three-quarters of a million dollars to spend on refurbishing the Welwyn/Shoreward area. The area definitely needed upgrades on streets and sidewalks. However, Celender had to add extras, such as “pretend” bicycle lanes painted onto the street and a “park” in front of the post office that no one wanted or needed, in order to spend all the money.

Not only is the configuration of the park unsightly and unsafe, it is also going to become the neighborhood nuisance, bringing noise and garbage along with pedestrian/auto/bus accidents because of its ungainly configuration.

Since the buses have been put back onto Welwyn Road (which is a disaster, even under the best of conditions), each hour dozens of them try unsuccessfully to make the turn in front of the protruding park in a single try, but the turning space is too narrow because the park that awkwardly juts into the street took away half of the former turning space, which was previously still too narrow for the buses to make the turn in just one swing.

The new crosswalk between Shoreward Drive and the park is configured so that in order to cross the street, pedestrians now have to walk right into the path of the oncoming turning buses as well as into two-way auto traffic. Partial to life and limb? Don’t cross here unless you want to become another statistic in the long list of Plaza pedestrian casualties. (Newsday published an article listing the worst villages in Long Island for pedestrian safety and Great Neck Plaza was at the top of the list.)

A clean, safe and quiet space and safe crossings for pedestrians are of no concern to Jean Celender now, nor have they ever been a focus of her concern. Remember that she already disbanded two pedestrian safety committees because she couldn’t bother to deal with the lack of pedestrian safety that still continues to injure, maim and kill pedestrians all over Great Neck Plaza.

The TEP project grant provided funds to repave Shoreward Drive from the Barstow roundabout to Gilchrest Road, but Welwyn Road was paved only from Barstow Road to the post office because she spent the money on the park and bicycle lanes, leaving the entire rest of the street between the post office and Gilchrest Road unpaved and in a state of disrepair — filled with dozens of large, dangerous potholes and looking like a bombed out inner city street. (Please see attached photo.)

Of course, the unpaved part of Welwyn Road is where the residential apartments are located, and we all know that residents of this area are of no consequence to Jean Celender. However, last year she found plenty of money to repave Overlook Avenue where she lives, even though the street was not in a state of disrepair.

And then there is the issue of Shop Delight’s mega-violations of its conditional use permit, which woefully impacts the quality of life of the nearby residents.

Because of Jean Celender’s complete refusal to hold Shop Delight accountable for its violations, residents are unable to park anywhere near where they live because up to two dozen employees are allowed to illegally usurp the street’s three-hour residential parking spaces every day, for up to 12 hours at a time, without consequence.

Because of Jean Celender’s complete refusal to hold Shop Delight accountable for its violations, quality of life for residents grows worse every day because noisy deliveries are made all over the street, at all hours of the day and night, even on weekends, without consequence.

Because of Jean Celender’s complete refusal to hold Shop Delight accountable for its violations, their entitled, “rules do not apply” customers are allowed to double park their cars wherever they please, causing constant and excessive gridlock and accidents, all while blowing their horns excessively — also without consequence.

But why should Shop Delight bother to adhere to the terms of its conditional use permit when there is purposeful lack of oversight or consequence for their violations? It would be more realistic to simply change the signage on the block from “Welwyn Road” to “Shop Delight Avenue, Eddie Yakubov, Overlord.”

Jean Celender lacks the milk of human kindness; she has ice in her veins. She views residents of the Welwyn/Shoreward area as nothing more than stepchildren.

Unfortunately, apathy among residents for not calling her out for her lack of respect for her constituents and their needs has given this mayor carte blanche to reduce those who live on Welwyn Road to the same hypothetical rubble as the street that we live on. And under Celender’s unbending “let them eat cake” attitude, everyone in the village will continue to suffer.

It’s time for the Jean Machine Regime to go!

Muriel Pfeifer

Village of Neck Plaza

(We want our “Great” back!)

 

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