'Longfellow Project' back in the spotlight

YONKERS - One of the construction projects spotlighted in the federal corruption trial of former Yonkers city councilwoman Sandy Annabi is once again under scrutiny.

The "Longfellow Project," an old school building that was supposed to be turned into housing, played an integral role in the guilty verdict against Annabi and co-defendant Zehy Jereis.

Despite being closed for decades, Longfellow Junior High School still stands along Mulberry Street in Yonkers. Back in 2006, the City Council voted to turn it into upscale housing but the plan never got off the ground. During the trial, the government says thousands of dollars exchanged hands for Annabi's crucial vote on the project.

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The dilapidated school, is now owned by a new developer, the Bluestone Organization. The developer plans to demolish part of the building and restore some of it into condos and parking spaces but say it needs to find funding close to $23 million.

Neighbors say something just needs to be done because the building is a health hazard. "It looks disgusting, kids go into that building, kids do stuff in the building," says neighbor LaShawn McMillian.

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