Queens Lawmakers On The Move June 22, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Katz Allocates $12 Million To Queens Public Parks 

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) yesterday announced an allocation of $12.1 million of her Fiscal Year 2019 discretionary capital funds for important construction, renovations and upgrades across 10 public parks in Queens.

Queens is the largest borough of five in the City of New York with 7,273 acres of parkland, which amounts to just over 10 percent of the borough’s total land mass.

“Part of what defines Queens’ trademark quality of life – especially for the 2.3 million residents throughout our diverse communities – is the ample access to beautiful public parks and open space,” said Katz. “This capital investment is intended to help enhance our parks to be better enjoyed year-round by millions of children, seniors and families.”

This year’s $12.1 million parks allocation comes on top of the $93.6 million that Katz allocated to NYC Parks projects during her first four years as Queens Borough President, for a total of $105.7 million across five years.

The $12.1 million capital funding for parks projects in Queens breaks down as follows:

  • $2.5 million for the reconstruction of a multi-purpose play area at Castlewood Playground in Glen Oaks
  • $2.5 million to renovate Maple Playground in Flushing
  • $2 million for upgrades at Nautilus Playground at Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica
  • $1.28 million to renovate Playground LXII in Forest Hills
  • $1 million to renovate the athletic area at Crowley Playground in Elmhurst
  • $1 million for the creation of a memorial at the Old Towne of Flushing Burial Ground
  • $750,000 for a building renovation at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City
  • $461,000 to upgrade the play equipment and spray showers at Hoover-Manton Playgrounds in Briarwood
  • $395,000 to complete seawall and fencing repairs and improve waterfront access at MacNeil Park in College Point
  • $250,000 for site acquisition for an addition to Udalls Cove Park Preserve in Little Neck.

The $12.1 million is included in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget being adopted by the Mayor and the City Council. It represents part of the approximately $54 million in Katz’s FY19 discretional capital funding.

Meng Hails Pilot Program Providing Halal & Kosher Lunches in City Schools

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) yesterday hailed a $1 million pilot program included in the city’s recently approved $89.1 billion Fiscal Year 2019 budget that will provide halal and kosher lunches in New York City schools.

“I have long called for halal and kosher meals to be made available in New York City schools and I’ve made similar calls on the federal level as well,” said Meng. “This pilot program is great news and I’m pleased that Jewish and Muslim students will finally have lunch options that adhere to their dietary restrictions. Earlier this month, I sent a letter to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson asking him to provide halal and kosher meals to students as part of the city’s school lunch program, and I thank him for agreeing to do so.

“Thanks to his efforts, students will finally have access to these meals. This pilot program is the right step forward in creating a more inclusive approach to school lunches in our city. Students should feel welcomed at their schools, and including different dietary options is a critical element to ensuring that no one goes hungry. I’m proud to applaud this new program, and look forward to this initiative benefiting students throughout our city.”

Kim To Make Major Funding Announcement

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing Murray Hill) today will join Peter Tu, Executive Director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, Dr. Diane Call, President of Queensborough Community College, and Jeffrey Chen, Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Queensborough Community College for a major funding announcement.

They are expected to celebrate a significant grant award to the school’s Workforce Development program, and to speak on the existing and future projects and initiatives towards which the funding will be allocated. Following the announcement, there will be a complimentary lunch available for all attendees.

The event is slated for 11:30 a.m., today, June 22 at the CUNY Center for Higher Education / Queensborough Community College, 39-07 Prince St, 2nd Floor, in Flushing.

Addabbo Bill Enabling “Special Needs Children At Play” Passes Senate

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspethand parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) recently saw his legislation (S.3060) to better protect disabled children in New York City from being struck by motor vehicles while playing in their neighborhoods pass the senate.

Under the bill, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) would be empowered to erect signs saying “Special Needs Children At Play” in areas where young people with physical, mental or developmental disabilities live or gather. This will provide a warning to motorists to be especially careful when driving thorough these areas and to be alert to children who may not immediately be able to get out of the way of fast-moving cars.

“It is already possible for the city to place signage in appropriate areas warning motorists that there are deaf or blind individuals living in the vicinity,” said Addabbo. “It only makes sense to expand this type of motorist awareness effort to let drivers know that children with special needs live or gather in certain areas. These children, for example, may dart out into the street or may not respond quickly to horn honking or other warnings.”

Having passed the State Senate, the bill has now been sent to the Assembly and is under review by the Assembly Committee on Transportation.

Peralta Denounces Senate’s Refusal To Extend Speed Camera Program

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) yesterday denounced the state senate’s decision to not extend or expand speed camera authorization.

On Thursday, the group of Albany legislators failed to pass a bill extending the safety program that provides 140 speed cameras around NYC Public schools.

The cameras were originally installed in 2015 to police dangerous drivers around school campuses and are part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero Initiative. Without a special state senate session, the cameras will be turned off on July 25.

With complete indifference, Republicans just killed a program that saved the lives of countless schoolchildren. They failed our kids and they failed our society. When children return to the classroom in September they will travel to and from school on more dangerous streets. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of a program that protects children,” said Peralta.

“And what did they do? They eliminated it. They decided to play politics with children’s lives. I will keep on fighting tirelessly to ensure this program comes back, and it comes back bigger and better. I want to thank the advocates for all of their efforts, and to assure them that the war is not over until speed cameras are in place in 290 school zones throughout the city.”