Tag Archives: Borough President Helen Marshall

Flushing Town Hall completes $1.2M renovation


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Flushing Council on the Arts

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

The historic Flushing Town Hall has a new look.

The theatre and event space fully reopened on Friday, March 14, after a five-month, $1.2 million interior renovation.

The makeover will freshen up the venue after more than a dozen years of use. The Flushing Town Hall building is more than 150 years old, and it has been an active theatre for 35 years. Its last renovation was completed in 1999.

“After 15 years of extensive wear and tear on the building it was time to upgrade and to renovate,” said Ellen Kodadek, executive director of Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, which operates the Hall.

The money for the renovation was partly funded by former Borough President Helen Marshall, various Queens City Council members and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

The makeover includes new flooring in the hallways and the gift shop, a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) throughout the building, and new floors and chairs in the theatre, which seats 308. The theatre’s movable risers were also replaced. Just like the old risers, the new ones will allow the theatre to transform at will.

“We are capable of taking the seats and the risers out and setting the room up so that it doesn’t look at all like a theatre, but you could do a wedding or a banquet or leave room for salsa dancing,” Kodadek said. “And that’s something very special and different about our theatre. Many theatres don’t have that capability.”

Flushing Town Hall hosts about 75 performances around the year, including jazz concerts, theatre plays, educational events for children, puppetry, dance, art galleries and workshops. They’ve also rented out the space for special events, including weddings and school graduations.

On the same day it reopened, The Queens Courier donated $1,500 to Flushing Town Hall, from money that was raised at the annual Rising Stars event. The money will be used to foster educational services for underprivileged students.

 

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Dmytro Fedkowskyj mulling a run against Assemblymember Marge Markey


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

There may be a showdown in the Democratic primary race for Assembly District 30 later this year.

Middle Village resident Dmytro Fedkowskyj, a former member of the city’s Panel for Education Policy (PEP), which serves to improve the welfare of schools and students in the city, is giving a lot of thought about running against incumbent Marge Markey.

“I had many people come up to me and ask me, ‘what are you going to do now? You’ve tackled and handled that job so well, why don’t you run for office,’” Fedkowskyj said, referring to his time on the PEP.

District 30 is comprised of Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Long Island City, Middle Village, Astoria and Sunnyside.

Fedkowskyj, an accountant and father of three, was a member of the PEP for five years, since former Borough President Helen Marshall appointed him in 2008.

He advocated for Queens students and parents in the position, until he resigned on December 31, as Marshall left office.

Former colleagues say what makes Fedkowskyj special is his ability to draw people together.

A graduate of Grover Cleveland High School, Fedkowskyj is an alum of SUNY Empire State College. He started his community outreach with Community Education Council District 24 in 2004. He served as chair of the School Construction and Zoning Committee before he was appointed to the PEP. Fedkowskyj also served as a trustee for the city’s Board of Education Retirement System from 2008 to 2013.

Despite his experience, challenging Markey, who has held office since 1998, may be difficult. Markey has won at least 60 percent of votes in her last three elections against Republican opponents. But given that the area is mostly Democratic, Fedkowskyj criticized her wins.

“In an Assembly district that holds almost 2-1 Democrat over Republican voters, one has to question why she hasn’t won a general election by a larger margin,” Fedkowskyj said. “Maybe voters are just looking for change.”

Michael Armstrong, a spokesperson for Markey, said that she will run for re-election, but didn’t comment on Fedkowskyj.

Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Marge Markey

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Jamaica residents, culture featured as ‘unsung greats’


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The development of downtown Jamaica is no longer limited to new buildings and facilities. A website dedicated to revealing community art and neighborhood loyalty is making a buzz.

Queens Royalty, the site launched earlier this year, came from “a desire to counteract some of the negative perception of downtown Jamaica,” said Felicia Tunnah, executive director at the Jamaica Center BID, the group that sponsored the project.

“The idea is to celebrate the history but also celebrate the people who are here now and who are doing great things,” she said.

The Jamaica-centric site features residents, the “unsung greats,” and their stories, as well as photos of both local celebrities and community members. It also focuses attention on iconic buildings throughout the neighborhood, such as the landmarked Jamaica High School.

“They are our neighbors and loved ones, who always push forward and reach back. They are our elders and youth, who have experienced history and beckon the future,” the website’s description says.

Brian Tate, creator and producer, wanted a heavy emphasis on the area’s youth.

“Sometimes, the young people are seen as a problem. So I wanted to start there,” he said. “The youth aren’t a problem. They’re the future.”

Queens Royalty commissioned four acclaimed photographers – Barron Claiborne, Delphine Diaw Diallo, Russell Frederick, and Jamel Shabazz – to capture a mix of local artists, entrepreneurs, students, and families.

Tate said he wanted to make these people “a part of the story, to shape what the story is and how that story is told.”

“I think there’s a lot of love among the people in Jamaica,” he said. “It’s just having a vehicle for them to express that. It’s promoting a place from the inside out.”

To make the vision a reality, Tate and the BID partnered with Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, NYC Small Business Services, the Economic Development Corporation, Borough President Helen Marshall, the 165th Street Mall and Sutphin Boulevard BID.

Tunnah said the website is “a place for people to share their own stories and really just to continue the dialogue and celebrate what’s happening here.”

Visit www.queensroyalty.org to discover more and submit a story of your own.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

BP Marshall OKs city’s plan to dispose of vacant lots too small to develop


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Borough President Helen Marshall approved the city’s plan to dispose of four vacant lots that are too small to develop.

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) wants to remove the properties from its inventory in order to sell in the future.

Community Board 7 gave the department the green light last month.

The tiny plots of land in Mitchell-Linden, Flushing, College Point and Whitestone were created erroneously, according to DCAS senior planner Christian Grove. Some are as small as a patch of grass in between homes, Grove said.

The four properties were all acquired by the city for free, between 1955 and 1988, through the in-rem tax foreclosure process, according to a DCAS spokesperson.

DCAS representatives said the department would offer each of the four plots to adjacent owners but did not plan to subdivide and sell in pieces. Marshall said “every effort should be made to contact” them.

The borough president also followed suit with the community board in approving a second DCAS application to disown another property at 135-15 40th Road in Flushing.

The department plans to dispose of the property to NYC Land Development Corp, an entity of the city’s Economic Development Corp, which will then sell the land to developer Success 88 for $1.5 million.

Success 88’s $3.5 million project includes building a six-story building with commercial and office space and a community facility, which includes a school for English learners.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Ribbon cut on Queens Museum expansion project


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and ranks of officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on the $68 million Queens Museum expansion project.

“There always seems to be something new and magical happening in this incredible space,” the head of the city said. “It really is an experience like no other. This is one of the great cultural institutions that provides art-inspiring experiences that you can find nowhere else.”

The Queens Museum, formerly known as the Queens Museum of Art, shortened its name but doubled its size to 105,000 square feet, officials said.

It will feature new galleries, classrooms, a new wing with nine artist studios and a sky-lit atrium when it reopens to the public on November 9.

“We have expressed openness in this space. We’re open to new ideas. We’re open to the future of arts. We’re open to contemporary. We’re also open to the community, open to the sky,” said Tom Finkelpearl, the museum’s executive director.

Queens Museum will also have its own 5,000-square-foot public library in 2015, library officials said. It will house about 14,000 books.

“The expanded Queens Museum will become an exciting destination for not only our out-of-town visitors but for our residents alike,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “We are going to have something here that will be unique in the city of New York. I can’t see it do anything but be a wonderful place to come for everyone.”

The transformed city-owned building is located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in the former space of the World’s Fair ice skating rink.

Its massive facelift, designed by Grimshaw, was largely funded by Marshall, Bloomberg, the state and City Council.

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE RIBBON CUTTING

The museum will host a month-long celebratory event lineup starting November 9.

“With today’s ribbon cutting, the Queens Museum, with such an important part and place in our city’s history, is ready to embark on an exciting, new future,” Bloomberg said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Groundbreaking held for Juniper Valley Park bocce courts


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of the Parks Department/Photos Courtesy of Dominick Totino Photography

Soon Middle Village residents can say buon giorno to new bocce courts.

Local elected officials and the Parks Department joined members of the community on October 3 for the groundbreaking of a nearly $1 million project to repair the deteriorating Juniper Valley Park bocce courts.

The Parks Department will renovate the two existing courts and construct a third. The agency will also install new seating, tables and trees around the courts and Plexiglas structures over each to provide shade during the summer.

“Today’s ground breaking for the bocce courts in Juniper Valley Park marks the start of an investment in our parks that will provide a safe and refurbished area for visitors of all ages to relax and enjoy this sport,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, who allocated $800,000 to the project.

The new bocce courts are set to open in the spring of 2014.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Millions approved for Queens Museum of Art expansion


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Grimshaw and the Queens Museum of Art

Millions of dollars are coming to the Queens Museum of Art.

The city’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Tuesday, August 27 approved more than $18 million in capital funds that Borough President Helen Marshall has allocated to help pay for the expansion of the museum.

The OMB also okayed around $19.8 million for the expansions from the mayor’s office and an additional $6.7 million from the City Council. When added to the approximately $13 million in private funds that have been raised, there is now around $57.5 million authorized for the project, according to the borough president’s office. If needed, Marshall has allocated another $5.7 million in funds that could be approved.

“The Queens Museum of Art has been a crown jewel among our borough’s cultural offerings and this expansion project will allow it to become an even more stunning and engaging facility,” Marshall said. “The doubling of the museum’s size, coupled with the other improvements that are part of the project, will make the museum an even more attractive place for both local residents and out-of-town visitors to explore.”

Once the museum’s expansion into the southern half of the New York City Building in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is completed, the institution will have 100,000 square feet of floor space. The project will also add a new 220-foot long illuminated glass façade and entry plaza on the Grand Central Parkway side of the building, a new entrance and expanded outdoor space on the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park side of the building and a new skylit atrium.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

City Planning Commission approves 5Pointz land use application


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

5Pointz, the graffiti covered warehouses in Long Island City, are one step closer to becoming two high-rise apartment buildings.

On Wednesday the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the land use application that would allow the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

One tower would reach 47 stories and the other 41 stories, with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 30,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

In July, the developers altered the initial plan after listening to comments from Community Board 2 (CB2). G&M Realty’s plan includes about 78 affordable housing units, an addition of 10,000 square feet to the initial 2,000 square feet planned for artists’ studios and community use of the parking garage for below-market rates.

The plan also includes the installation of art panels on the street to continue to display artists’ works. There will also be a program to curate the works and establish a community advisory group to work with CB 2 before, during and after construction.

CB 2 voted against the owners’ land use application in June. However, constructing the towers is within their rights.

In July, Borough President Helen Marshall announced she approved the Wolkoff’s land use application.

The application still needs to be approved by the City Council, followed by the mayor.

“Once City Planning delivers the application to the New York City Council, which we anticipate to be sometime next week, I will call the matter up,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “By calling it up we will trigger a 50 day window in which the City Council must vote on this application. Once this happens there will be two public City Council hearings at which the public will be invited to comment and testify. I will review the application at City Planning’s recommendation.”

Van Bramer said he will take part in the public meetings and also meet with stakeholders to make the decision based on what he believes “is best for Long Island City.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Op-Ed: Borough hospitals on critical list


| oped@queenscourier.com

BOROUGH PRESIDENT HELEN MARSHALL

This week, Holliswood Hospital plans to begin laying off almost 400 employees after failing to secure working capital financing to avoid closure.

Sad as this is, the announcement is just the latest in a litany of closed hospitals in Queens in recent years. In 2002, Queens had 14 acute care hospitals. Now, Holliswood follows Peninsula, St. John’s Queens, Mary Immaculate, Parkway and St. Joseph’s.

From western Queens to the Rockaway peninsula, many of our borough residents are in danger of not being able to reach a nearby hospital when threatened by medical emergencies where time is critical. These closings came in a borough that was already underbedded and underserved across a wide spectrum of medical services. Six years ago, I released a report, “A Vision for a Comprehensive and Sustainable Healthcare Delivery System in Queens,” that called for new hospitals in western Queens and on the Rockaway peninsula.

Yet today, hospitals continue to close their doors and the remaining ones  have no ability to cope with a surge in patient census brought on by a natural disaster like Sandy or another outbreak like swine flu, which several years ago forced Jamaica and Queens Hospital Center to set up triage areas in vehicles and tents.

A recent public report showed that in 2009, healthcare spending in the U.S. averaged more than $6,800 per person, although there were wide variances among the different states.

Here in Queens, our hospitals are doing the best they can as they cope on a daily basis with a smorgasbord of problems that include deep cuts in Medicaid subsidies, low insurance reimbursement rates, “right-sizing” their institutions as they work with State health officials to perhaps increase the number of their medical/surgical beds, or add tertiary care services, such as cardiac cath labs, cancer programs and diagnostic capabilities with new state-of-the-art equipment.

The problem is so severe that as your borough president, I felt compelled to provide $15 million in capital funding from my budget to purchase sophisticated medical equipment for our hospitals. This comes at a time when more and more patients use hospital emergency rooms as neighborhood doctors.

At a public hearing in February, Queens Hospital Center alone had a wish list of $4.7 million in capital funding. This one hospital had more than 104, 450 Emergency Room visits from July 2011 to the end of June 2012.

During the remaining months of my term as borough president, I will continue to work with our healthcare providers, the State Department of Health and Governor Andrew Cuomo in a combined effort to provide accessibility to healthcare. On the Rockaway peninsula, St. John’s Episcopal is the only acute care hospital on a stretch of New York City with limited access and thousands of vulnerable residents in nursing homes, group homes and senior citizen housing.

On the upside, we have seen our remaining hospitals add new services and expand existing ones. We have seen major expansions in orthopedics and cardiac and cancer care. We have also seen the growth and development of community-based primary and Urgent Care Centers in Queens. This is driven in part by the development of Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) companies, established through the recent Medicaid redesign efforts of New York State and the full implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act in 2014. The intent and goal is to reduce overcrowding in emergency rooms and provide people with a “medical home” where they can access primary care for all members of the family. Let’s ensure a good outcome that puts our collective feet on the road to recovery.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Holliswood Hospital closes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Health care in the borough continues to flatline one facility at a time, with Holliswood Hospital the latest to shutter its doors.

The 127-bed private psychiatric hospital in Jamaica closed on Monday, August 12 due to financial troubles, said a hospital official. Current patients will begin to be discharged, and after an estimated one to two weeks, the site will close permanently.

After Holliswood shuts off the lights, nearly 400 employees will have to look for work elsewhere, according to the borough president’s office. Some already have replacement jobs, but others do not, said hospital security guard Leroy Walker.

Walker, who has worked at the center for eight years, said the staff was informed on Friday, August 2 that the facility will close in less than two weeks.

“Then they were handing everybody pink slips,” Walker said. “[Management] isn’t looking out for us over here. I’m really heated about the way they treated us.”

Holliswood Hospital will let 376 employees go, including nurses, mental health technicians, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, pharmacists, psychologists and more. The largest single group consists of 58 registered nurses, said the borough president’s office.

Starting in April, Holliswood began negotiating with PSCH, Inc., a local nonprofit provider, to receive interim financing for the facility. However, the parties were unable to resolve “certain substantive deal terms and terminated negotiations” in late July, according to hospital officials.

Without additional funds, the facility “did not have the financial resources to keep the hospital open.”

This is the sixth hospital to close in the borough in the last decade following Parkway, St. John’s Queens, Mary Immaculate, Peninsula and St. Joseph’s.

“We live in one of the largest cities in America, and we continue to see hospitals closing,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “This is not only a burden for the patients, but for the people who love and care about them.”

Every patient currently in the facility is to placed throughout the communities they come from. Case managers and physicians are continuing to work with individuals to “make sure that every patient receives appropriate and continual care,” said Gay Hartigan, vice president of Holliswood’s corporate entity.

Now, Marshall said, it is a question of how to keep the borough’s remaining hospitals and health care centers sustainable.

One factor that likely contributed to Holliswoods’ closure was trouble with the reimbursement rate for care. Before announcing an official closing, officials began slowly letting people go, Walker said.

“We certainly believe this adds to what I have called in the past and continue to characterize as a medical crisis in Queens County,” Marshall said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Ozone Park men honored for returning woman’s life savings


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office Of Borough President Helen Marshall

A stash of cash in a junkyard earned two Ozone Park men honors from the borough president.

Michael Downer and Fred Alsterberg were honored by Borough President Helen Marshall for finding and returning a woman’s life savings that were accidentally trashed.

Magda Castillo stashed roughly $5,000 in a nonfunctioning refrigerator that she stored in her home. Downer, manager at Atlantic Recycling, an Ozone Park scrapyard, said two weeks ago Castillo’s boyfriend and sister brought in the old appliance for cash.

The next morning, Castillo showed up to explain the mix-up. Alsterberg, an employee at the yard, helped her look for the refrigerator, but it had already been scrapped and crushed.

“She did the sign of the cross, and she left,” Downer said.

The next day, Downer found the old fridge crushed in between two cars, and the cash lying nearby.

Without a way to reach Castillo, he and Alsterberg contacted local media and put out a notice, hoping she would see they had recovered her money.

“A couple days later she came by,” Downer said, and was given back her savings.

“I commend [Downer] and [Alsterberg] for their honesty and for their determination in making sure this lost cash was returned to the right person,” Marshall said. “They understood how important it was to return the money and were willing to make the extra effort to find it and locate the woman who lost it. They deserve our praise and admiration.”

In their two years at Atlantic Recycling, Downer and Alsterberg have found wallets, prescriptions, bills and more left behind in the “junk” people bring by, but never anything of this caliber.

Marshall awarded the two men a Citations of Honor at Borough Hall on Wednesday, July 31. Downer, however, maintains his modesty.

“It shouldn’t be an amazing feat for someone to give back something that’s not theirs,” he said.

“Everybody should do that.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Pols in support of Community Safety Act


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

A group of Queens councilmembers that voted in favor of controversial legislation to oversee the activities of the NYPD gathered at Borough Hall to reaffirm their support last week.

Led by Councilmember Leroy Comrie, the public officials, including Borough President Helen Marshall and various minority groups, said the Community Safety Act would help end profiling by police officers. The group also blasted Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) for “attacking” councilmembers in support of the act.

“We want people to understand that these are common sense tempered measures that have been put together only after a lot of consultant with many different entities, including law enforcement,” Comrie said.

The act, which proposes two bills, was approved by the council about three weeks ago. One of the bills creates an inspector general to share oversight of the NYPD with the police commissioner. The other bill will make it easier for people to take the department to court over discrimination.

Bloomberg has since promised he will veto it.

Supporters believe it will end “abuse” of the Stop and Frisk policy, which they said overly targets minorities, and will help improve relations with cops.

“Unfortunately in this city and in particularly in communities of color, many people don’t trust the police officers,” Councilmember Mark Weprin said. “We want them to trust the police, so when they see something wrong they say something.”

Opponents believe the Community Safety Act will interrupt the NYPD by dragging officers to court for costly cases.
Brooklyn councilmember Jumaane Williams, a co-sponsor of the bill, joined the rally in support and issued a challenge to Bloomberg.

“You point out in the bill where it says you cannot use descriptions and you point out where it says police officers may be financially harmed and I will pull the bill before the override vote,” Williams said. “It’s time to put up or shut up.”

The PBA challenged councilmembers in support of the bill who have upcoming elections, such as Weprin, by supporting their opponents and handing out flyers in their district.

“The PBA is not attacking any councilmembers,” said Albert O’Leary, the PBA communications director. “We are simply informing their constituents that the officers who protect their community believe that these representatives did not vote in the best interest of the community by supporting two badly conceived and unnecessary bills.”

Borough Board votes down raising homes in flood-prone zones


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

The borough doesn’t want to raise the stakes on its homes.

The Borough Board recently voted against a freeboarding requirement that would elevate homes in flood-prone zones an additional two feet higher than FEMA standards.

“Our concern was the requirement to go above and beyond the recommended base elevation,” said Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10.

Additionally, areas such as Howard Beach are still awaiting zoning resolutions from FEMA and a specific elevation requirement that comes with each zone. Preliminary zone and evacuation maps are expected to be released by the end of the summer.

Braton said another concern of the Borough Board was finalizing the freeboarding requirement before individualized elevation requirements are made final.

“It wasn’t necessary that we approve this at this point in time,” she said.

Although the southern region of the borough is no stranger to elevating homes, an additional height requirement will impact people who are in the process of trying to rebuild after Sandy, Braton said.

Borough President Helen Marshall disapproved of the proposal as well, “until there is some consideration of providing financial assistance to homeowners” that will allow them to comply.

The proposal was presented by the Department of City Planning and the Department of Buildings, which are carrying out an executive order, according to the borough president’s office.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

MLB to donate $250K to Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Major League Baseball stepped up to the plate for south Queens.

The league announced it will donate $250,000 to build an all-star teen center in the new wing of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens as part of its $5 million legacy project.

The Boys & Girls Club is currently undergoing an $11.5 million capital project transformation, with the first phase the completion of the left wing.

In a topping off ceremony on Friday, July 12, public officials, Mets and MLB administrators and Boys and Girls Club members signed a white beam that was hoisted and inserted on top of the new wing, which is currently scheduled to be finished in December.

“The club has served more than 500,000 children in its 57-year existence,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, who was able to contribute nearly half of the money needed for the renovations. “I am thrilled that this new building will become a second home to thousands of additional children in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The teen center will be a 3,000-square-foot space decorated in Mets orange and blue. It will include a technology lab, a college lab, classroom space, a lounge and a viewing balcony overlooking the new gymnasium. The center will serve high school students in Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Howard Beach and Jamaica.

“While other clubs have gone extinct, this boys and girls club has become a beacon of hope,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

The Boys and Girls Club was one of many projects in Queens and New York City chosen by the Mets and MLB as part of their legacy programs.

“The Mets and baseball targeted programs that provide great service for New York City, that have worked successfully in the past with both the Mets and Major League Baseball and that are best suited to create lasting benefits and to make a real difference in the lives of deserving New Yorkers,” said David Cohen, executive vice president of the Mets.

After the new wing is erected, the club will begin phase two of the transformation and renovate the old wing. Phase two is slated to begin in April of next year, according to Carol Simon, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Joseph Ferrara, chairman emeritus, who has been a part of the club for nearly 45 years. “I always envisioned that I would rebuild this club better.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Borough President Marshall OKs Willets West


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File rendering

Borough President Helen Marshall approved a special permit that would pave the way for a mega mall near Citi Field.

Marshall gave developers Sterling Equities and Related Companies the thumbs up on July 2 to move parking for Citi Field to Willets Point. The joint venture ultimately needed the permit to construct a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping center west of the baseball stadium.

Community Board 7 gave its green light in May, but both the board and borough president had conditions for their endorsements.

They said the joint venture must keep surrounding communities and leaders informed of the project’s progress and traffic problems that arise.

The city and the facility’s developer must also fulfill written commitments they made, which include funding traffic mitigation measures, building a 1,000-seat K-8 public school, giving $1.87 million to the Willets Point

Infrastructure and Traffic Mitigation Fund and hiring locally.

Marshall said the $3 billion project would provide 7,100 permanent jobs and generate more than $310 million in tax revenue.

Among the speakers at Marshall’s June 6 public hearing, 20 people opposed the project and two others were in favor of it.

Community Board 3 voted 31-1 against the application on May 13.

The project awaits the Department of City Planning, which held a public hearing July 10 but did not make a recommendation as of press time.

The City Council is expected to meet August 21 to give the final vote.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES