Sections

Council spares Flushing cultural groups paralyzing cuts

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Brought to the razor’s edge by budget cuts over the past year, the Queens Botanical Garden managed to duck what its executive director said would have been a crippling blow last week.

The City Council approved its 2010 budget last Thursday, and in doing so restored the majority of $18 million in proposed cuts for the city Cultural Institution Group.

The Council voted to restore about $16.1 million of the cuts, which had Botanical Garden Executive Director Susan Lacerte and the rest of the 34-member CIG all smiles.

“It’s a relief,” Lacerte said. “It’s an acknowledgement that the cultural institutions in this city are important. That’s really what it says.”

The economic crisis has hit the Queens Botanical Garden particularly hard in the last year.

Lacerte said the garden has laid off five employees and reduced the hours of another employee. In addition, the entire administrative staff just finished a 10-week furlough period in which employees were required to take one unpaid day off a week — amounting to a 20 percent pay cut.

Lacerte said if the cuts, originally proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, had been approved, they would have been devastating.

“Truly with cuts of the size that were proposed, it would have been crippling,” she said. “I really wasn’t sure what we were going to do next.”

Though the exact amount of funding each institution in the CIG will receive has yet to be finalized, the restoration of the funding will directly affect eight Queens groups — the garden Flushing Town Hall, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, the Museum of the Moving Image, the New York Hall of Science, the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, the Queens Museum of Art and Queens Theatre in the Park.

Lacerte said the garden is currently in the process of reviewing its budget for the coming year.

Lacerte said she understands the garden and other institutions are not necessarily out of the woods and her staff has been working hard on innovative programs that can both educate the community while bringing in money.

Twilight weddings, winter weddings, discounted rates for schools in the winter months and children’s birthday parties are all things the garden is looking at for the upcoming year.

“We know that we can’t rely as much on city and state funding,” she said. “It’s a changing paradigm, I think, towards more of a user-helped support.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group