There’s been a changing of the guard at Community Board 1.
Florence Koulouris is the new Community Board 1 (CB 1) district manager, taking over for the recently retired Lucille Hartmann. Koulouris served as Hartmann’s assistant for the last eight years, and she told The Courier she is most excited to attend the monthly community board meetings and interact with community members and different city agencies.
“I’m a people person, and I think that’s a big part of the district manager,” Koulouris said.
The CB 1 area, which includes Astoria, Long Island City and Woodside, is the most ethnically mixed community in New York City, according to nyc.gov, and more than 118 nationalities call these neighborhoods home. A development boom has recently transformed the landscape and Koulouris said affordable housing is the most pressing issue facing Community Board 1.
Astoria Cove, the 2.2-million-square-foot project on the Astoria waterfront, is one example of a development that will drastically alter the neighborhood, and Koulouris said she is proud of the work the board did to ensure affordable housing there. More than 460 units of the 1,723 apartments will be designated for affordable housing.
“We are the trendsetters with the Astoria Cove project. I think the work that the board did is going to set a very high bar for the rest of the city,” Koulouris said. “Our board worked diligently to negotiate affordable housing.”
Long Island City will also soon be home to the tallest building in the borough when a 70-story apartment building near Queens Plaza begins construction. The mixed-use structure will surpass the Citi Bank tower and contain 930 apartments and nearly 15,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.
The newly anointed district manager also praised the new traffic calming measures in Astoria. As part of a Neighborhood Slow Zone, more than 55 blocks in Astoria, from Astoria Boulevard to 30th Avenue and Steinway Street to 21st Street are receiving 14 speed bumps, 20 gateway intersection treatments and 20 mph pavement markings from the Department of Transportation throughout September.
Koulouris also said she, along with the community board, are looking forward to the expansion of Citi Bike in their area. Long Island City already has 12 docking stations and Citi Bike recently announced that they will double the number of bikes in Queens by 2017 to include parts of Astoria.
“We have a lot of wonderful things coming to our community,” Koulouris said. “I look forward to working with the people of the community and the board members. We have a very diverse group of people. It’s going to be exciting.”