Before taking a two-month summer hiatus, Community Board 11 met Monday night and voted to rename a narrow piece of parkland in Douglaston after a former community board member and civic activist.
Meeting in the cafeteria at MS 158, at 46-35 Oceania St., the board voted unanimously in favor of renaming of a slender stretch of parkland near 243rd Street and Douglaston Parkway in Douglaston as Joseph B. Hellmann Park.
Hellmann was a director of the Douglaston Civic Association, a member of CB 11, a director of the Douglaston-Little Neck Historical Society and a founding member of the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance.
“Mr. Hellmann was an avid activist who worked for the best interests of the community,” said Douglaston Civic Association President Eliott Socci. “[He] spent a great deal of time researching the history of issues in order to gain an edge for the benefit of the community. In particular, Joe persistently fought to defeat the proposed apartment building that would have occupied the lot on Douglaston Parkway and to have the site turned into a park.”
Hellmann died last May at the age of 70 and the CB 11 Transportation Committee wasted no time following the board’s one-year protocol in proposing the parkland be renamed after its friend and colleague.
Committee Chairman Bernie Haber said Hellmann “single-handedly” prevented the development of a nine-story apartment building on the site, even when others thought it was impossible.
Before dying, it was Hellmann’s wish that a walkway be constructed through the park so visitors could stroll down to Old Oak Pond and enjoy the scenic view. District Manager Susan Seinfeld said the plan was approved and awaits funding.
Along with the renaming approval, the board’s Transportation Committee suggested placing a sign in the park reading “His efforts helped ensure this park.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, Chairman Jerry Iannece announced June 14 as the date of the city Board of Standards and Appeals meeting for the controversial variance requested by the owner of 50-20 216th St. in the Bayside Hills neighborhood.
Community members and elected officials have strongly protested the proposal to place a second home in addition to the current one on the lot.
A spokesman for state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said the senator will hold a meeting this week with the Bayside Hills Civic Association to coordinate a bus to take community members from the home to the BSA hearing at 1:30 p.m. at 40 Rector St. in Manhattan.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@
©2011 Community News Group
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