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Townsunited website connects neighbors

Curious about what is going on in your neighborhood, what is new with your city, state and federal government representatives or what to do about illegal conversions?

Then townsunited.com is the answer.

The website connects the residents of the communities in northeast and southeast Queens with each other, the police precincts, the local school board and community civic associations.

The site was the brainchild of Kevin Jemmott, vice president of the Cambria Heights Civic Association and a manager at a telecommunications company. Jemmott, a longtime Queens resident, grew up in St. Albans and eight years ago moved to Cambria Heights with his wife and two sons.

He said he started the site for the Cambria Heights Civic Association about a year ago to reach the people who could not come to the civic’s meetings.

“I then talked to other civic associations and found out each faced similar problems, such as noise and illegal conversions,” Jemmott said. “We decided to expand and it started to grow and grow.”

Communities have become aware of the site, he said, through word of mouth. Townsunited.com does not advertise, but the website is slowly growing and adding more civic associations, he said.

Jemmott recently put Town Hall Civic Association in Springfield Gardens onto the site and is in the process of adding another Springfield Gardens civic association.

The majority of the neighborhoods on the site fall under the coverage area of Community Board 13. The communities on the site stretch from Glen Oaks to Laurelton and from Queens Village to Richmond Hill as well as Bellerose, St. Albans, Floral Park and College Point.

“It is open to all community organizations in Queens and is spreading through each neighborhood,” he said. “We are getting e-mails from Richmond Hill and Bayside. I think once the word of mouth spreads more organizations in Queens will join.”

The opening page on the site has links to U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans), state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and state Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village). On each politician’s page there are explanations of what he or she is doing in Albany or Washington that affect the borough.

Clark was the first politician Jemmott linked up to the site. He said he had met her at one of the Cambria Heights Civic Association’s meetings and she began to tell him everything that she was doing in Albany, which would have an impact on their community.

Jemmott said he found out about what Clark was doing in the neighborhood only after meeting her and decided that other people in the community were probably in the same boat, which prompted him to start the website.

He said Clark agreed to provide information from her office for the site. Later Jemmott approached Smith and was told about Padavan, whom he also contacted.

“The sharing of information is part of the basic need of the community,” Clark said. “The whole community needs to know what is going on around their neighborhoods because then they become more effective when fighting the issues.”

In addition to the civic association and politician links, townsunited.com also puts up articles written by Lt. Eric Adams, leader of the 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement and New York Public Interest Group. Jemmott does not censor the pieces, but said the articles cannot be derogatory or filled with profanity.

At first people thought Adams was too controversial for the site, but Jemmott said he told them they can write rebuttals to whatever appears on the site on the discussion forum.

According to Jemmott, the forum is the most popular section on townsunited.com site and the “two hottest topics are School Board 29 and illegal conversions.”

“The site’s central goal is to share ideas,” Jemmott said, “and to help people realize that we have more in common than different.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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