Tag Archives: Andrew Rocco

EXCLUSIVE: Fire, flood stalls completion of College Point police academy

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo renderings courtesy of NYPD

Completion of the new police academy in College Point has been pushed back three months due to fire and flood damage, The Courier has learned.

The majority of construction on the new $656 million police academy at 128-11 28th Avenue will be finished in March, instead of this month as originally planned, according to the NYPD.

Deputy Chief Kim Royster, a Police Department spokesperson, said the project was first stalled when flood waters from last year’s Superstorm Sandy damaged custom air handlers in storage.

A fire in April also melted the building’s exterior glass atrium, scorching a number of outside panels at the north side of the building and destroying portions of its façade, Royster said.

It was accidentally caused by a blow torch used during construction, according to FDNY spokesperson Frank Dwyer.

“Together these events resulted in substantial completion being delayed by three to four months,” Royster said.

But plans are still on track to have the new academy’s first recruit class enter the new training digs by July 2014, law enforcement officials said.

The 700,000-square-foot building, in the project’s first phase, is projected to accommodate one tour of 1,640 recruits during their first six months of training, according to Inspector Terrence Riley of the NYPD.

In addition to classrooms and gyms, the new space for the city’s finest-to-be also includes a quarter-mile outdoor running track and a mock-up small city with banks, stores, apartments and streetscapes for simulated scenario-based training, Riley said.

The total 30-acre site is bordered by College Point Boulevard, 28th Avenue and Ulmer Street.

A new target date for the west campus is slated for March, while the east campus is expected to near completion in April, Royster said.

The delay was welcomed by Andrew Rocco, president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association.

“Unfortunately, whether it opens tomorrow or three months from now, it’s going to create additional traffic regardless,” he said. “This should give the NYPD an extra three months to figure out how they’re going to support College Point.”

Rocco wants the city to extend Linden Place and fix the neighborhood roads, among other things on his wish list.

“They’re putting this citywide institution in our backyard,” he said. “We want to see some support from that, some visible police presence and support for local businesses.”





Star of Queens: Andrew Rocco

| MKirk@queenscourier.com

Rocco Star Photow

Andrew Rocco

President of College Point Civic/Taxpayers Association

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: According to its website, the purpose of the College Point Civic/Taxpayers Association is to “improve the quality of life in our neighborhood.” Rocco contributes to this effort by helping to handle issues addressed at Community Board 7 meetings. Among these include advocating for small business owners, handling busing issues, promoting English language lessons, encouraging voter registration and bringing everyone together for community events.

PERSONAL: “That is my spare time,” Rocco said with a laugh, referring to his responsibilities when asked how he spends his spare time. “I’m always trying to help somebody.”

While he finds it difficult to fit in recreational activities for himself, when it’s possible he likes to visit upstate, New York, and be healthy and exercise. His favorite sports team is the Mets and his favorite movie is “Good Will Hunting.”

FAVORITE MEMORY: Last year, yellow school bus services for seventh and eighth graders was cut in Staten Island and parts of Queens. To make up for the inconvenience, the city issued MetroCards for the affected students.

“There’s no access to public transportation in College Point,” Rocco said.

Rocco decided to help organize a protest that ended up bringing in around 50 people to a bus stop in College Point. Similar protests were held in other parts of Queens as well as Staten Island. In April, school bus services were restored.

“When the community comes together, advocates an issue and changes state law, it’s great,” Rocco said.

INSPIRATION: Rocco said he’s motivated by seeing the effects good leadership and a strong work ethic can have. He praises the book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen for reminding him that with enough hard work, anything can be achieved.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: As president of College Point Civic/Taxpayers Association and a member of Community Board 7, Rocco said the biggest challenge facing his neighborhood is managing overdevelopment in a productive way. While he doesn’t find overdevelopment to necessarily be a bad thing, he maintains that all the issues affecting an evolving neighborhood like new houses, rising property values and good roads need to be handled carefully.