Would you prefer paper, plastic, or sewage?
After locals complained about too much trash, traffic and noise, Great Wall Supermarket on Fort Hamilton Parkway near 67th Street has agreed to clean up its waste, load and unload produce more efficiently, and quiet its machinery.
The trouble began shortly after the Chinese market opened at the end of June and began selling fish on the sidewalk, making the whole block smell, well, like fish were being sold on the sidewalk.
“The smell was just awful and it was everywhere,” said Joan Mulroy, who lives across the street from the market, which is housed in the former Fortway movie theater. “But it wasn’t only fish. There was also lot of rotting trash that would be left outside attracting all kinds of vermin.”
The fish and garbage weren’t the only thing that stunk; the noise of the air conditioner and traffic problems caused by deliveries also irked residents.
“Their stock deliveries run seven days a week resulting in double- and triple-parked trucks idling in wait outside our homes,” said resident Nina Batiato.
“By using the avenue and sidewalks adjacent to residential properties to warehouse and peddle produce, they have imposed upon us a constant debilitating noise from the beeping of their motorized forklift,” Batiato said.
Residents quickly mobilized an effort that included a petition drive, and contacting community officials.
Last Tuesday, concerned residents took their case to Community Board 10, where they tried to hammer out an agreement with representatives of the supermarket, who were also on hand.
The sweet smell of compromise was in the air.
The supermarket agreed to replace a noisy beeping forklift, to try to create a new loading zone for trucks, and to determine how the storage of trash could be improved, according to Dana Beecher, who is representing Great Wall.
“We had a productive talk and I am confident it will lead to a resolution,” said Beecher. “It is important that this business thrives, and we are planning on having more talks with the community.”
Officials were happy to see an open dialogue, but would like to see the sidewalk produce kept inside.
“People felt very happy about the grocery store’s willingness to meet with them,” said CB10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann. “I think they are trying to be good neighbors, but if they don’t agree to keep all their produce inside the store, some people going to have a problem with that.”
The current state of pessimism is a far cry from the triumphant press conference touting the grocer’s arrival.
At a February press conference to announce its opening, owner Spirro Geroulanos promised that his supermarket would be a cut above the average greengrocer (thanks to 20,000 square feet of space). And residents cheered a plan that would bring fresh food to a wide supermarket-free zone.
The School Construction Authority originally eyed the site, but plans to build a school hit a snag when some residents raised concerns about the site’s proximity to a popular shooting range, which is in the basement of the adjoining building.