The Queens Womens Center has a mammoth fund-raising project underway to raise $475,000 to renovate its future home at Baysides Fort Totten and the City Council pitched in last week to help.
In May the Queens Womens Center ended a seven-month eviction battle with the city Fire Department by agreeing to move out of its building at Fort Totten in exchange for a different building at the Civil War-era fort. The city has told the group it must raise the $475,000 needed to renovate the dilapidated Building #207 before the group can resume operations at Fort Totten.
Council members David Weprin (D-Hollis) and Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) presented the Queens Womens Center with a check for $30,000 last Thursday, bringing the displaced group a bit closer to its fund-raising goal. State Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) has already pledged $200,000 to help the group.
Since its June 15th eviction the womens center, which previously occupied a large two-story building with a basement, has been working out of a room at Borough Hall.
Theyre in a cramped room in Borough Hall where theyre on top of each other, Weprin said. The councilman, who is chairman of the City Councils Finance Committee, said the $30,000 came from council discretionary funds.
Ann Jawin, a Douglaston resident who founded the Queens Womens Center in 1987, said her group was thrilled with the Councils donation.
Were very happy, she said. We have a long way to go, but having this money not only gives us a push upward, it also lets us know we have the support of the men and women of the City Council behind us.
Jawin said her group was more than halfway toward raising the necessary funds for renovating the new building and has been helped by smaller community fund-raisers.
The group serves between 100 and 150 women a week and provides a range of services to women and families, including job training, domestic violence programs and counseling. It had been headquartered at Fort Totten in Building #401 since October 1997.
In a deal worked out in State Supreme Court in May before Judge Duane Hart, the Queens Womens Center was required to vacate Building #401 by June 15 in exchange for another space at the fort Building #207.
A spokesman for the Parks Department said Friday the funding for building renovations must be provided up front.
Before anyone can use the building has to be renovated, the spokesman said. It has to be paid in full.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2002 Community News Group
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