Today’s news:

Convention center likely for Willets Pt.: Marshall

She told attendees of the annual public Borough Cabinet meeting, hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, that the borough needs a convention center. She said the original group of 13 proposals for the site had been whittled down to eight."One will be chosen," she said, adding: "But the common theme is the construction of a convention space venue."She spoke to the approximately 200 business leaders, elected officials and community representatives who attended the breakfast at the LaGuardia Marriott in East Elmhurst.In her wide ranging speech, she mentioned the strong development planned and underway in the borough including the United Nations Federal Credit Union Building under construction at 43-35 24th St. in Long Island City; the Willets Point proposals in Flushing; and the rehabilitation of a former courthouse and a planned new glass tower constructed by the Korean Wholesalers, both in Jamaica.She said the borough was also tackling housing needs, with the construction of 4,000 homes planned in Rockaway.Apart from projected business growth, she also touted the additional resources directed toward social services and public projects. She said her office initiated a needle exchange program meant to reduce the risk of the spread of the AIDS virus through contaminated needles. "Health is the first line of defense," she said, noting that the disease is a problem in the borough.She said the borough had helped fund 25 new schools and allocated $30 million to libraries for expansions and renovations.She added that her office brought together a tourism roundtable to increase awareness of museums, parks and neighborhoods.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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