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CB 11 mulls saving untouched land

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Northeast Queens residents called on Community Board 11 to prioritize the purchase of land for preservation at sites near Udalls Cove and Little Neck Bay during a discussion of the board’s capital and expense budget for fiscal year 2011 at a meeting this week.

The board held a public hearing Monday during which it solicited ideas from community members for priorities that could be placed in its budget. The items would then go before Borough President Helen Marshall, who would determine which items to fund for the 2011 fiscal year.

Walter Mugdan, president of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee, proposed the acquisition of four acres of land near Udalls Cove that have not been included in the ongoing process of keeping development off the northeast Queens shoreline.

“It’s a small chunk,” he said. “There hasn’t been pressure for this property to be developed with the current downturn in development. But once that improves, it will be a prime piece of property.”

CB 11 member Henry Euler also suggested purchasing a piece of northeast Queens shoreline property for preservation. He said the board should add the acquisition of a parcel of land adjacent to Little Neck Bay on the south side of Northern Boulevard and east of the Cross Island Parkway.

The purchase would provide recreational space in the vicinity, he said.

Board member Frank Skala said he was skeptical that CB 11’s budget items would get much consideration in the current economic climate.

“This is a hoax,” he said. “There’s no way most of these items will get done.”

But Mark Scott, of the Borough President’s Office, said Marshall would attempt to fund as many of the items as possible.

“The borough president looks very closely at the top 10 lists of community boards,” he said.

The board also passed a resolution calling on the state to reopen the shuttered Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica and St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst amid fears swine flu would return this winter. The board approved the resolution with a vote of 33-2.

CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said he feared the borough’s hospitals would be overrun with patients should the swine flu pose a serious threat.

At the meeting, Scott Hanover, deputy inspector of Bayside’s 111th Precinct, warned board members and community residents not to leave their cars running for the purpose of warming them up as the temperatures drop in the coming months, saying that a number of vehicles left idling were stolen in the neighborhood last year.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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