Community District 8 is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial overwhelmingly residential area with several commercial strips. The 143,000 residents of the district are mostly middle class, some owning their own homes, others renting, who are concerned with quality-of-life issues, personal safety and security, education, and maintaining their fair share of city services.
The area contains many dynamic civic and tenant associations in Briarwood, Flushing Suburban, Flushing Heights, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Hillcrest Estates, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Utopia, and West Cunningham Park. Following are the Needs and Priorities for fiscal year 2004.
POLICE: Community Board 8 has consistently designated the funding of additional police among its top three expense budget priorities. An extra 20-30 officers are needed. It is felt that our 40 plus private/public schools and institutions, including St. John's University, Queens College, Cunningham Park and Queens Hospital Center, merit more officers.
We dont have many violent crimes and when people do not report the quality-of-life crimes, City Hall doesnt think we need more police. There are 162 auxiliary police, many from the law programs at St. Johns University, and they need two vans. The Community Affairs Unit would also like a van.
TRANSIT BUREAU DISTRICT 20: We need more officers and supervisors, more vehicles and new computers.
SANITATION: Although Community Board 8 has relatively clean streets, it still needs money for more services. The paved center malls need weed removal and cleaning, the five-day pickup at schools must be retained, Sanitation police are needed for nighttime patrols to discourage illegal dumping, particularly in Cunningham Park and along our highways. We should have a dedicated seven-day- a-week pickup truck along our commercial strips, especially near bus stops, plus increased enforcement of Sanitation regulations along our commercial strips as well as at the Pomonok Houses
PARKS: Our parks and street trees give CD 8 a suburban character. We need more personnel or contractors to maintain, prune, remove dead trees and plant new ones. Cunningham Park is very heavily used and needs rehabilitation. The West Cunningham Park Civic Association and the Friends of Cunningham Park feel that the western core area needs erosion control.
The ball parks need much work. The walking/jogging oval path needs some repaving and edging. Landscaping is needed. Hedges should be planted around the garage near Francis Lewis Boulevard. Standing water areas have to be filled in. The picnic area should be redesigned awith locator maps and directional signs at major entrances.
Users should be informed that there are three parking lots in the park so they dont have to park on the streets. I think that there should be underground sprinklers so the center of the oval can be kept green thus preventing bare spots.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: More personnel are needed for catch basin cleaning and repair and sewer repair.
Fire: CB 8 supports five-person staffing for all engine companies and adequate public education on fire prevention.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: CB 8 welcomes the free transfer using MetroCard. Since more people are using public transportation, additional bus and train service is necessary. Instead of the tentative proposal to raise the fare in a year or so, I think that lowering or ending the fare might really give the economy of New York City a boost.
HIGHWAYS: We continue requesting increased asphalt allocation for street resurfacing. I notice that some areas along Union Turnpike are irregular. The service roads of the Van Wyck Expressway, Grand Central Parkway, LIE and Clearview Expressway must be maintained and cleaned on a regular schedule. I think that graffiti should be removed from the walls promptly.
HOUSING/BUILDINGS: Additional inspectors are needed to enforce building codes and end illegal apartments because absentee landlords do all kind of illegal things. A lack of HPD inspectors will lead to the continued deterioration of rental housing stock. Although Pomonok Houses is one of the better developments in the city, it does need improvement of the windows, elevators, roofs, plumbing and maintenance of the grounds. A family resource center would be good.
HUMAN SERVICES: There are human service needs for the elderly, single families, youth, unemployed and new immigrants. Domestic violence, AIDS and parenting skills needs exist.
YOUTH: This year we received modest increases in funding for youth programs but more is needed. The Beacon schools are providing services after the regular school day.
SENIORS: There are several excellent senior centers in CB8 which provide meals and socialization. There is also Meals-On-Wheels, home care and transportation available. It is felt that an intergenerational program would benefit both seniors and youth.
HEALTH & HOSPITALS: We will continue to monitor the new Queens Hospital Center. We voted on May 10, 2000 to oppose the renting or selling of the hospital campus.
LIBRARIES: We support increasing the services and hours of the six library branches in CB 8.
EDUCATION: CB 8 has sections of school Districts 25, 26, 28 and 29. Overcrowding is a problem.
GOOD NEWS: CB 8 has listed its wants and needs.
BAD NEWS: We will not obtain everything we want.
©2002 Community News Group
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