Tag Archives: ted renz

New urgent care center opens in Ridgewood


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

A new urgent care facility has arrived in Ridgewood.

North Shore LIJ, partnering with GoHealth Urgent Care, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday to announce the grand opening of its new Ridgewood location. This facility, located at 55-05 Myrtle Ave., is the 13th GoHealth location to open since 2014, and the second in Queens.

The urgent care center is set up to treat non-life-threatening conditions, including early treatment for colds, flu and fever; sports-related injuries; allergies and asthma; and skin lacerations and other skin trauma. The doctors can also perform X-rays for joint and bone injuries as well as provide lab services for blood tests.

“This particular location, this corner, the adjacency to the train station is fantastic,” said Gary Weatherford, chief operating officer for the North Shore LIJ/GoHealth Urgent Care joint venture. “When we talk about improving access to healthcare, we’re very much community-oriented and in that sense what’s constant with that is our desire to provide the best patient experience possible.”

The facility itself is designed to be open and inviting, with an open-air feel to the waiting room and 50 percent larger patient rooms. The Ridgewood location is outfitted with four private exam rooms, large ADA-accessible bathrooms, a lab room, storage and stock rooms, and a friendly staff of physicians, physician assistants and radiology technicians.

Being partnered with North Shore LIJ gives GoHealth seamless integration with the hospital’s electronic medical records system. This allows GoHealth doctors to access patients’ medical records and utilize this information to better diagnose and treat patients on the spot.

“GoHealth is like the GPS for your healthcare,” said Dr. Robert Korn, medical director for GoHealth. “So essentially you come to us and we take care of your acute problem, but because we have this huge partner that’s on the other side of the table — the North Shore health system with 3,000 physicians, 15 acute care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, out-patient centers, rehab centers — we can now direct you, like a GPS, to the care you need.”

Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), welcomed GoHealth Urgent Care center to Ridgewood.

“On behalf of the Myrtle Avenue BID, we welcome GoHealth to Myrtle Avenue and the BID. We look forward to assisting them in any way,” Renz said. “This store has been vacant for some time and it is great to see a service facility that will bring people to our community on a daily basis.”

Dorie Figliola, community liaison for Assemblyman Mike Miller, was on hand and welcomed the urgent care facility to the neighborhood.

“This is a wonderful facility. I went for a little tour already, and on behalf of the assemblyman, I would like to welcome you into his district,” Figliola said.

The Ridgewood location is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

GoHealth will continue its expansion with a total of 50 sites slated to open over the next three years in the New York metropolitan area. The next Queens location will be coming to LeFrak City later this month.


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Ridgewood march against proposed MTA bus rerouting plan


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy the MTA

Members of the United We Stand Neighborhood Association, a newly formed civic group on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border, will be holding a march and rally in Ridgewood this Saturday to oppose the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) proposed plan to reroute the B26 and Q58 buses.

The MTA’s proposal would take these two buses off of Wyckoff Avenue and instead reroute them onto Ridgewood Place. The MTA cites dangerous turning conditions at the three-way intersection at Palmetto Street and Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues as well as heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic as reasons for the proposed changes.

This location has been the scene of many traffic-related injuries, several involving MTA buses, including the fatal accidents that killed Ella Kottick Bandes in 2013 and Edwin Torres in 2014.

“The whole idea of rerouting buses in the area of Myrtle and Wyckoff was due to the need to make traffic conditions safer for pedestrians,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5. “Unfortunately, two people were killed in vehicular accidents at that intersection. The decision on which blocks to reroute the buses to was studied by the MTA. This was done to save lives. The whole reasoning was for pedestrian safety.”

The United We Stand Neighborhood Association was formed in April of this year to combat this rerouting.

“We are a newly formed group,” said Flor Ramos, member of United We Stand Neighborhood Association, in a phone interview with the Ridgewood Times. “We got together mainly because of the situation with the bus rerouting. Nobody wants those buses around there.”

Protesters will assemble at the intersection of Putnam and Wyckoff avenues at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. They will begin their protest at noon and march along Putnam Avenue to Ridgewood Place, ending on Palmetto Street, which is the proposed new route for the buses.

“Now it’s totally going to affect our quality of life,” Ramos said. “There is the noise issue and the fumes. Now you will have double the noise from screeching breaks and compressed air making that horrible bus noise echoing through the streets. We won’t be able to leave our windows open. These are all residential house along this new route. Wyckoff Avenue is all commercial.”

Currently, the Q58 travels down Putnam Avenue, turns right onto Wyckoff Avenue and right again on Palmetto Street, where the Ridgewood Terminal is located. The B26 travels straight down Wyckoff Avenue to Palmetto Street to the Ridgewood Terminal.

“That intersection is the beginning of our commercial district,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, who supports the bus route changes. “Since day one, we have been working with the city for the mayor’s Vision Zero plan and have advocated for improvements in that area.”

The proposed changes would have the Q58 turn right onto Ridgewood Place, then right again on Palmetto Street, while the B26 would turn left onto Putnam Avenue, right onto Ridgewood Place and right onto Palmetto Street.

“Overall, the buses will be making five new turns with this new route,” Ramos explained. “The B26 will add three more turns and the Q58 will add two more turns. They will be taking the accidents from there and bring them to the new location. That is going to cause a lot more problems.”

Members of United We Stand Neighborhood Association believe that moving the bus routes to Ridgewood Place would put more children and elderly at risk since the streets of the proposed reroute are very narrow, which would make it difficult for a bus to turn.

“Sending out a bus through there, all they’re doing is bringing that problem to our streets,” Ramos said. “There is nothing they can do about making the streets wider.”

“You have wider streets on Wyckoff and Palmetto,” Ramos continued. “There is about a 5-foot difference in width. The sidewalks on Wyckoff are much wider, giving bus drivers a better view of pedestrians passing through there.”

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Pilot program promoting public transportation launched in CB 5 area


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy NYC DOT flickr

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) pilot Go Smart NYC program has launched in the areas of Community Board 5 (CB 5).

Go Smart NYC is designed to increase residents’ use of public transportation, biking, carpooling, or walking in order to reduce the traffic congestion and emissions caused by single-occupancy motor vehicle trips.

The DOT chose CB 5 as the pilot area due to its population, proximity to public transportation options and bike lanes, walkability, as well as its high level of car ownership.

“The congestion and traffic in our communities can sometimes be unbearable. Go Smart NYC plans to alleviate that with the click of a button,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said. “Walking, biking, public transportation and carpooling are all viable urban modes of travel and I look forward to this program’s roll out and working with the DOT to make it as effective as possible for everyone.”

Residents can sign up for the program through the Go Smart NYC website. After registering, participants can order a free, personalized travel toolkit, with information about walking, biking, public transit, carpooling and Vision Zero safety and education materials.

“I am excited that Community Board 5 has been selected for the kickoff to the city’s launch of Go Smart NYC,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “Middle Village, Ridgewood, Maspeth and Glendale are home to a wealth of local businesses, and this program encourages residents to shop and explore these neighborhoods by foot, transit and bike. The more we can walk or use public transit, the better off we will be as a society.”

Registered participants will be able to log their trips online in order to earn discount rewards at over 20 local businesses that are partnering with the DOT to help encourage sustainable travel choices and local shopping. To further enhance residents’ experiences with walking, biking or public transit, the DOT will assist the local community board in installing city benches, city racks, and a real-time bus information sign at an area bus stop.

“The Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and Ridgewood Local Development Corporation are delighted to be partners for DOT’s new innovative program Go Smart NYC,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue BID. “This is a win-win: increase of residents’ use of public transit, biking, carpooling or just plain walking will reduce traffic congestion. At the same time, it will encourage people to shop locally and support our merchants.”

Go Smart NYC will run in the areas of Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth until November. DOT is also looking at the possibility of expanding the program to other areas of the city in 2016, if the pilot is successful.

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Community Board 5 votes against the Knockdown Center receiving a liquor license


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

The Knockdown Center in Maspeth received another thumbs-down from Community Board 5 (CB 5) in its quest for a liquor license.

At CB 5’s Wednesday meeting at Middle Village’s Christ the King Regional High School, supporters and opponents of the art venue’s request for a liquor license stated their cases during the public forum before the board took a final vote. The board’s recommendation against the liquor license was forwarded to the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA), which will hear the case on June 16.

Ted Renz, member of CB 5, spoke out against the Knockdown Center, located at 52-19 Flushing Ave., getting a liquor license on the basis that it is located within the Maspeth Industrial business zone (IBZ). By allowing the Knockdown Center to operate with a liquor license, Renz believes it will further damage the IBZ by encouraging other non-industrial institutions to move into IBZ spaces.

“Earlier this month, the Land Use Committee voted 6 to 2 to deny this request,” Renz said. “I want to urge you to vote with the Land Use Committee to not recommend this position.”

Jean Tanler, director of Industrial Business Development at the Business Outreach Center network and coordinator for Maspeth Industrial Business Association, wants to keep the Maspeth IBZ strictly for industrial use.

“New York City has a well-documented shortage of industrial land and inappropriate uses such as an entertainment venue with a liquor license, [spurring] the further loss of industrial manufacturing businesses to speculation,” Tanler said. “I respectfully urge the community board to deny the Knockdown Center’s application for a liquor license, since it would create a competing commercial use in a designated IBZ and undermine the city’s industrial policy.”

Michael Merck, co-director of the Knockdown Center, supported the center’s stance on getting a liquor license.

“Since August of 2012, we’ve hosted over 50 events, projects and exhibitions on temporary permits which in turn support the work of nearly 1,000 individuals and organizations. The reality of all this is that all of our exhibitions and many of our events are free to the public,” Merck said. “And all of our community events, fundraisers, etcetera are free to the presenting organizations, but the cost to us is a minimum of several thousand dollars, with our budgets for special projects often exceeding $10,000.”

Merck believes that a liquor license would allow the Knockdown Center to recuperate some of those funds, and allow the institution to provide even more special projects and events to be shared with the community.

Gianna Cerbone Teoli, president of the board of trustees of the Queens Council on the Arts, believes the Knockdown Center can become a hub of arts and culture in the Maspeth area.

“Understand that you have the power to make this into a positive entity for culture and arts,” Teoli told the members of the board. “The 104th Precinct, there’s no speculation upon this, they’ve actually said that they have handled the first three events amazingly with no problems whatsoever … you have a group of people here with a passion beyond belief for bringing artists from other areas and they are paying for them to come into their facility.”

In the end, the board voted 29-12 in favor of the Land Use Committee’s recommendation against the Knockdown Center’s liquor license application.

Elections for executive committee positions on the board were also held during the meeting. All members of the executive committee retained their positions. Patricia Grayson, Fred Haller, John Maier and Ted Renz were all elected as members-at-large for the board.

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Ridgewood civic focuses on bike lanes and local businesses


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Transit, tenants and trees took center stage during a three-part presentation hosted by the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) on Thursday at the Ridgewood Older Adult Center.

Community Board 5 Public Transit Committee Co-Chair John Maier explained plans for new bike routes connecting Ridgewood and Glendale with other parts of Queens, including Rego Park. The RPOCA first requested the bicycle routes back in 2011. The Department of Transportation and Community Board 5 created a forum in 2013 to gather community input and feedback regarding preferred routes.

The first option for the proposed bike route plan would connect Ridgewood to Rego Park via various roadways in Middle Village. According to Maier, special road markings would be installed along Metropolitan Avenue and 69th Street. Eliot Avenue, however, is slated to receive actual designated bike lanes.

Option two would connect Glendale to Rego Park via 80th Street. Maier voiced safety concerns over the use of Dry Harbor Road for part of the proposed route and cited the narrowness of the roadway as being potentially problematic.

New pedestrian and bike passageways are also part of the Kosciusko Bridge Project, which began in 2014. Improvements also include the installation of a double suspension bridge aimed at increasing traffic flow.

Maier also announced that work may begin within the next one and a half years on long-awaited progress on the reconstruction of the bridge carrying Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road over Long Island Rail Road tracks on the Ridgewood/Middle Village border. Originally planned in 2005 but delayed repeatedly, he told residents the project has been fully funded and is in the final design phase.

Maier also pleaded for help from the community in getting the stalled Wyckoff Avenue reconstruction moving. The project would implement much-needed street repairs and sewer/water line replacement along Wyckoff Avenue between Flushing and Cooper Avenues.  He asked community members to act as advocates for the project and request sponsorship from local elected officials.

Ted Renz, Community Board 5 member and executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), also spoke about changes and initiatives in Ridgewood’s busiest commercial district. According to Renz, the BID is experiencing an influx of new tenants and residential construction.

Renz cited ongoing residential development, including the 135-unit building slated for St. Nicholas Avenue, as well as two fully occupied 45-unit buildings on Putnam and Myrtle Avenues, as evidence of the commercial district’s popularity among a new wave of younger tenants.

“We want a balanced community,” he said. “If you don’t have young people, then you’re a dying community. Living over a store, which nobody wanted years ago, is now becoming chic and popular.”

In addition to attracting new residents to the BID, Renz also hopes to apply for a grant from the New York Main Street Program, a state-sponsored revitalization effort, in the future. Renz hopes to pursue the program once he receives a strong commitment from local retail owners.

Finally, RPOCA Director Maryellen Borello sounded the call for volunteers to help with the Parks Department tree count in a 200-block radius in Ridgewood. According to Borello, the Ridgewood tree count will take place from June through August. Those interested in volunteering can visit www.rpoca.org for details.

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Candlelight vigil held in Ridgewood for Nepal earthquake victims


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Many of the Nepalese residents in Ridgewood joined together Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to show their support for the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit their home country last weekend.

Candles were placed on the ground at Clemens Triangle at the intersection of Myrtle and Cypress avenues, while residents held up signs reading, “Pray for Nepal” and showed the strength of their community.

Assemblyman Mike Miller was in attendance, as well as Vincent Arcuri and Ted Renz of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, which helped organize the vigil along with Bikash Kharel of the Nepalese American Youth Association and the Ridgewood Nepalese Society.

 

 

 

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Ridgewood residents tackle housing, other matters at forum


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Residents, community leaders and local activists revisited various issues and concerns affecting Ridgewood during the Ridgewood Tenants and Neighborhood Association‘s (RTNA) public forum, “Ridgewood: Your Voices, Your Issues,” on Monday at the Ridgewood Library.

“This is a way of starting a conversation and a way to bring together a lot of different people in the neighborhood,” RTNA co-founder and moderator Glenn Dyer said.

The group broke up into four different sections, each representing a specific topic or issue facing Ridgewood: housing, economic development, transportation and the environment.

Paul Kerzner, former Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) president, chaired the housing group. He expounded on his idea of forming tenant co-ops set forth in the first forum back in February, using the analogy of geese flying together in a “V” formation to illustrate the need for Ridgewood’s many tenants to band together in their pursuit of affordable housing.

“Individual tenants in Ridgewood cannot get to their destination by themselves,” he said. “If they fly in formation and work together in a building, they can accomplish their end.”

According to Kerzner’s plan, tenants living in buildings with four to six units could feasibly purchase each unit for roughly $200,000 each, becoming co-owners of the building itself. By qualifying for mortgages and available federal loans, he estimated monthly out-of-pocket costs to be roughly $1,340, much less than the average rent in Ridgewood.

Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), moderated the Local Economy group. Many residents voiced concerns regarding overdevelopment of Ridgewood and the sale of large retail properties to outside brokers and entities.

“We need to preserve Myrtle Avenue for the mom-and-pop shops and smaller entrepreneurs,” Renz said. “Our goal is to have input into getting a better store mix for our community.”

Many residents spoke in favor of a proposed six-to-nine-month moratorium on liquor licenses due to the sharp uptick in bars and nightlife venues in Ridgewood. “It’s oversaturation,” Renz said.

RTNA co-founder Matt Peterson agreed: “There are already a number of bars in Ridgewood. It’s not just a business. It attracts a whole culture.”

John Maier, co-chair of the Community Board 5 Public Transit Committee, led the transportation group. According to Maier, the biggest issue facing local transit is the loss of funding on a federal level.

“Our transportation fund has run out and is operating on a month-to-month basis,” he said. “We need to figure out how to get the money for better service.”

Professor Stephanie Wakefield managed the local environment group. Topics and ideas generated from this group included replacing the trash cans on Fresh Pond Road, community field trips to the Ridgewood Reservoir, poor air quality at the Fresh Pond Road bus depot and the need for additional green spaces in the neighborhood.

“People would really like to find a way to create more green space that is not a playground,” Wakefield said.

CB 5 member Henry Cross proposed holding a legislative forum in which area elected officials could address these topics.

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Industrial Business Zones in danger of losing funding


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Ted Renz is hoping what he fought so hard for won’t soon end.

Just last November, Renz, director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation, was at the forefront of the fight to get the neighborhood included in the Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) program.

But only three months later, the IBZ may be in jeopardy, as Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t include $1.1 million in funding in his preliminary budget for the program, an initiative left over from the previous administration to save manufacturing jobs.

“We are disappointed that it wasn’t in the mayor’s budget,” Renz said. “We thought that he was a big supporter of manufacturing jobs. We hope that it will be reinstated (in his final budget).”

IBZs were created to stabilize industrial areas and spur growth in the manufacturing sector by offering tax credits of up to $1,000 per employee for businesses that relocated to them, and additional services to help companies grow.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg allocated nearly $4 million to 16 IBZs in 2006.

However, since its inception, funding decreased to about $1.1 million in 2013. Bloomberg himself hasn’t allocated money to the initiative since 2010, but the City Council has restored it every year, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

The move could mean de Blasio, who supported manufacturing jobs during his campaign, will engage a different strategy to assist the sector, although his administration has not come up with any specifics.

“The de Blasio administration is committed to making smart, impactful investments that will help industrial business thrive in New York City, and is working with our agency partners to take a fresh look at the suite of programs that support this critical part of the city economy,” a spokesperson for the mayor said. “Spending differences in one program do not speak to the overall commitment to industrial firms and their jobs.”

Despite the decline in funding over the years, the program has grown to 21 IBZs, including Ridgewood and Woodside last year.

Community Board (CB) 5 especially pushed for the Ridgewood IBZ against opponents, which are owners who wanted to use their properties for residential use instead of industrial.

“It enables us to promote businesses more in that area and advocate for businesses, and provide programs for manufacturing,” said Renz, who is a member of CB 5.

In March, the city council will review the preliminary budget, and some are touting the IBZ’s signficance. “I am committed to restore it,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said. “I know it is important not just to Maspeth and Ridgewood, but the rest of the city. It is something that the council treasures.”

 

 

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Plaza a place to relax in Ridgewood


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

A quarter century after the idea originated, the plan for a Ridgewood pedestrian plaza finally came to fruition.

The plaza, situated on 71st Avenue between Myrtle Avenue and Stephen Street, was closed to traffic during the first week of October. Chairs and tables were expected to be delivered to the street as The Courier Sun was going to press.

Granite blocks and planters line the plaza in the center of the Myrtle Avenue retail corridor. A pedestrian triangle with benches already existed as a barrier between Myrtle and 71st avenues.

When Venditti Square and Ridgewood Memorial Triangle were built 25 years ago, the 71st Avenue Triangle was to be constructed as well, but city cutbacks caused the plan to be scrapped.

The design was reset in motion when a proposal was submitted in 2011 to the city’s plaza program.

“After 25 years, we’re finally coming full circle and creating what was supposed to have been built back in the 80s,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation and the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District.

After the plan was approved, the DOT offered to construct the temporary plaza instead of the community waiting a couple of years for the permanent space to be designed. The temporary plaza allows the space to be utilized while a permanent one is planned. Renz said workshops will be held in the coming months regarding the permanent plaza.

“I like the idea, I’m interested in how it will be used,” said Ridgewood resident Debra Fairs.

The triangle will be home to local events — such as pictures with Santa — as well as a spot people can congregate to sit and relax, Renz said.

The space will be maintained by the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation and the Myrtle Avenue BID.