"The motion has been made for us to join the councilman in lawsuit," said civic association President Anthony Gellineau as he addressed a crowd over 100 residents last Tuesday night at St. Anthony of Padua Church.
In addition to Wills and the civic association, residents Yudraj Tiwari, Cynthia Soria and George Savich are also named as plaintiffs.
The proposed center at 133-23 127th Street will house 18 juvenile delinquents between the ages of 14 and 17. The agenda is part of the state's “Close to Home” program that places young criminal offenders in facilities closer to where they live instead of upstate prisons.
The 127th Street center was scheduled to open in late March, but after a stop-work order was issued by the DOB that timetable is no longer possible.
Members of the civic association argued the center will affect their quality of life, and they are concerned for the neighborhood's safety with the potential for criminal offenders being allowed to roam the area.
They also fear property values will decline.
Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services will oversee the day-to-day operations of the facility and juveniles on property leased to the organization by KAD of Queens, LLC.
"Both parties have been working actively backdoor-ing all of the actions we have taken," alleged Wills.
Members of the South Ozone Park Civic Association voted last week to join a alwsuit aimed at stopping a juvenile detention facility from opening.