Tag Archives: District 21

Participatory budgeting extends to more Queens council districts


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photos

Residents in nine Queens City Council districts will be given the power this year to decide where and how their tax dollars will be spent in their communities.

Last spring, community members in three Queens council districts – Councilman Mark Weprin’s District 23, Councilman Donovan Richard’s District 31 and Councilman Eric Ulrich’s District 32 – were given the opportunity to vote on community projects that would benefit from one million dollars of each council member’s capital discretionary funds.

This year joining those three districts are six new Queens council districts including Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras’ District 21, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz’s District 29, Councilman I. Daneek Miller’s District 27, Councilman Paul Vallone’s District 19, Councilman Costa Constantinides’ District 22 and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s District 26.

The overall process begins in the fall when residents suggest ideas and choose budget delegates during public meetings. Those volunteers then develop proposals based on the suggestions which are presented to the public before the voting occurs.

Voting this year will take place between April 11 and April 19 and each voter, ages 16 and up, can chose up to five projects. A total of 24 council members throughout the city are participating in this year’s voting.

“Participatory budgeting has been rewarding for our entire district. This entire process has featured ideas generated by members of the community,” Constantinides said. “It has provided an opportunity for residents to become engaged with the civic process through events and meeting. Everyone has shared their common love of their neighborhood and become more interconnected.”

Projects being voted on in Constantinides’ district include renovations at local schools, such as sound proofing P.S. 122′s cafeteria, redesigning the streetscape on Newtown Avenue between 32nd and 22rd streets to construct a pedestrian plaza, turning unused lots into dog runs in Astoria and Jackson Heights, and renovating the basketball court at the Astoria Houses.

In Councilman Miller’s district, residents will be able to vote on 23 projects which include improvements at local parks, technology upgrades at schools and enhancing cultural facilities such as upgrading the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

The $1 million in projects that residents in District 19 can vote on include creating a $400,000 state-of-the-art music studio at Bayside High School, funding three NYPD security cameras, and installing real time passenger countdown clocks along the Q12 and Q13 bus routes.

“With a wide range of voting locations throughout northeast Queens, we encourage and hope to see everyone come out and vote for the projects that they believe will have the best impact on the community,” Vallone said.

In District 23, voters can choose projects such as upgrades to the Queens Village and North Hills libraries, fitness equipment at Alley Pond Park, technology upgrades at local schools and portable security cameras at three sites.

Residents in Councilman Ulrich’s district that encompasses Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park can vote on projects such as renovating the Forest Park Dog Park, refurbishing the 9/11 memorial in Forest Park and installing emergency call boxes in Forest Park. For residents living in the councilman’s district in the Rockaway peninsula, projects include a $500,000 repair of center medians along Cross Bay Boulevard, upgrades to local schools, and the construction of a rock climbing wall in Rockaway Beach adjacent to the new boardwalk.

For more information on the projects and where to vote, click here.

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Education task force takes on overcrowding


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

The newly–formed District 21 education task force held is first meeting to discuss concerns such as overcrowding.

On Thursday, April 25, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras gathered with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, local educators, parents and education advocacy groups at the Langston Hughes Library for the inaugural meeting of the Educational and Overcrowding Improvement Task Force. It is designed to address key issues facing schools in the area.

“With the help of Chancellor Walcott, the School Construction Authority and our community partners, I am happy to say that the task force is here,” Ferreras said. “Not only will it go far in improving communication between our schools and parents, but it will also develop solutions to address some of the long-standing issues our schools are facing.”

Ferreras and elected officials shared details of several goals to improve overcrowding. The goals include more community and parental involvement in rezoning and actively considering capacity in planning for co-locating two or more schools in one building.

Partners in the education task force include members of Community Education Council Districts 24 and 30, representatives from local schools and Parent-Teacher Associations.

Although the first meeting focused on overcrowding, future meetings to be held throughout the year will cover other topics. The ultimate goal is to come up with short- and long-term solutions.

“I look forward to having many more meetings this year and tackling more issues in our schools, such as obesity, safety and after-school programming,” said Ferreras.

 

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