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Rockaway Park Residents Say They're Not Sure About FDNY's Proposal For New Firehouse

ROCKAWAY PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The historic firehouse on Beach 116th Street suffered millions of dollars in damage during Superstorm Sandy. The FDNY figured replacing the firehouse was more ideal than renovating it and is eyeing a property less than a block away for its new home.

Rockaway Park residents, however, have mixed opinions on the plan.

"I think that will be a good spot," one person said.

"Obviously, we want the fire department. We need them. You know they're part of our community in every sense," resident David Selig said. "But the challenge is this site will create a whole bunch of complications that we as neighbors and citizens are going to be impacted by," another person said.

Rockaway Park Site
Officials want to build a new firehouse on the site of a former Bank of America building near Rockaway Beach. (credit: CBS2)

Selig lives right behind the proposed location, a former bank that was damaged and shuttered after the 2012 hurricane. It sits on the corner of Beach 116th Street and the busy stretch of Beach Channel Drive.

"Two of these corners are among the high-accident corners of Rockaway already, without the fire trucks added into the mix," Selig said.

The community board voted against the location, but the city Planning Commission overruled, giving the FDNY the green light to pursue the move. Some people worry the firetrucks may struggle to respond to calls if traffic blocks the driveways here.

"That would build up so much traffic. It's on a corner property with 2 Main St. I don't think it would work," one resident said.

MOREFlood Water Worries Raise Doubts On Choosing New Firehouse Site

The property also sits right across the street from the sea wall of Jamaica Bay, and is considered a flood zone.

"I'm not sure how I feel about the firehouse being right on top of the water. It is potentially a risk," Rockaway Park resident Bianca Sepulveda said.

In a statement, the FDNY said, "The firehouse will be designed to meet or exceed all flood resiliency standards."

The local community board has suggested the FDNY consider at least one other option -- a vacant Long Island Power Authority site, just a few blocks away.

But the FDNY said the former power company property presents environmental concerns.

The Department filed papers to take over the proposed location, under eminent domain and is awaiting court approval.

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