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Parks Dept. to spruce up Queens Blvd.

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The Parks Department’s beautification project between...

By Brendan Browne

A section of Queens Boulevard in Briarwood is getting a $450,000 makeover that will transform a drab concrete median on the thoroughfare into a little piece of greenery with trees, shrubs and benches.

The Parks Department’s beautification project between 84th Drive and 87th Drive, which began about three weeks ago, is due largely to the work of civic leader Sy Schwartz, who spent the last five years lobbying community and political leaders to improve the street’s image.

“It is a barren center meridian of nothing but concrete. It is not attractive at all,” said Schwartz, who wants Briarwood to be a more recognizable name in Queens. “All together (the project) will visually enhance the appearance of the community.”

Five years ago, Schwartz, a member of Community Board 8, began asking the board to push legislators to add the project to the city budget, but the idea remained far from the top of the organization’s list of priorities.

Schwartz labored on until former Councilman Morton Povman took an interest and added the project to the city budget as a line item.

With Povman “there has always been an interest in helping the community and he liked the idea,” Schwartz said.

Although Povman left office last year, the money for the project remained and construction on the 20-foot-wide median will be ongoing until next fall, said a spokesman from the Parks Department.

This may be a small step in changing the image of Queens Boulevard, a street often associated with fatal auto accidents. People driving into the community will now be greeted with a Briarwood sign and a line of golden rain, London plain, and pin oak trees, the Parks Department spokesman said.

Money has also been allotted for eight benches, picket fencing, shrubs, and flowers. New crosswalks will encourage people to cross at the corners instead of the middle of the street, the Parks Department spokesman added.

Reach reporter Brendan Browne by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 155.

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