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Gallagher gets money for streets

"It's been a long time in the works. Quite frankly, we have to do as much as we can to enhance the economic climate of our commercial strips," Gallagher said. "(They are) the lifeblood of our community."This fall, Gallagher said, the city Department of Economic Development will be overseeing tree plantings and street upgrades to Metropolitan Avenue from 73rd Place to 80th Street in Middle Village; Grand Avenue from 64th Street to 72nd Place in Maspeth; Myrtle Avenue in Glendale; and portions of Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven and Richmond Hill. "The projects vary in size and scope," Gallagher said. Metropolitan Avenue will take up the bulk of the funds in a project that includes new sidewalks, decorative streetlight poles, ornamental garbage cans and scores of new trees. "That's long overdue. The commercial districts need to be upgraded," said Bob Holden, president of Middle Village's Juniper Park Civic Association. "Certainly that money will come in handy."Myrtle Avenue is also slated to get new lighting fixtures. In Richmond Hill, landscapers will rework the mall space in Forest Parkway Plaza at the intersection of Forest Parkway and Jamaica Avenue with new plantings and lights, Gallagher said. Gallagher said the improvements should boost local business by beautifying the commercial strips with "decorative" elements. Community Boards 5 and 9 have already approved the ventures. Gallagher said a handful of local civic organizations will help oversee the projects, including the Richmond Hill Block Association, the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District and the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation.

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