Macedonia AME Church in Flushing has reclaimed its longtime role as a key participant in the doings of Community Board 7 with the joining of the Rev. Richard McEachern as an official board member.
Raised in Springfield Gardens and trained in architectural engineering, McEachern has a deep understanding of Queens and the issues that come before CB 7. But he said his role as pastor at Macedonia compliments that experience by providing him with an ear to the views of the people on the ground.
“I bring that level of compromise: How do we meet the current needs of the community while understanding the need for development and revitalization in the community as well,” he said. “I bring a balance of preservation and looking to the future for expansion and growth. And in the pastoral position, I think I really bring fairness to the board. I hear what people want in the community, their needs and concerns, and I can bring those to the board.”
The church, which celebrated its 200-year anniversary last month, has a long tradition of keeping a presence on CB 7, and McEachern, who replaced the Rev. Nicholas Tweed at the church’s pulpit in June 2009, is continuing that legacy.
As a result of that history, the pastor of Macedonia is always invited to serve on the board, according to CB 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty.
“The church represents a community that’s a longtime community in Flushing. It doesn’t matter who the pastor is, whoever it is we invite them to join the board,” Kelty said. “We’re happy to see him. I think he’s going to be very dynamic. He’s very involved in his congregation and the community so it’s going to be interesting to see.”
Kelty added that the experience McEachern — who graduated from Springfield Gardens High School, then earned an engineering degree from North Carolina A&T University and worked for 23 years for Turner Construction before retiring three years ago — has in building, engineering and economic development will be beneficial to the board.
Community board members are chosen by the Council members who represent the board and the borough president, but Kelty was not exactly sure who officially recommended him for the seat.
Board member John Byas said he advocated for McEachern to join the board, which swore him in June 14.
“We need that ink spot on the board. That’s an African American. We’ve only got three,” Byas said. “He’s got good leadership, he’s the pastor of a 1,100-member church, he’s a good speaker. And he knows how to bring people together, especially young people. He’s a good man.”
After becoming pastor, McEachern represented Macedonia Plaza before CB 7, which eventually approved the ambitious project last year.
The plan calls for a 14-story building with 140 affordable housing units, ground-floor retail space, a daycare center and church being built by the Macedonia AME Church on the site of the current congregation, at 37-22 Union St., and is slated to break ground this fall.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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