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CB 3 eyes upgrades with yearly budget

Reducing the odor and improving the water flow in Flushing Bay is on CB 3's wishlist for the next fiscal year. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Community Board 3 proposed a relatively short wish list for its fiscal year 2013 capital and expense budgets, which focused on building and expanding new schools, libraries and affordable housing at its monthly meeting last Thursday.

“It’s that time again,” board member Marta Lebreton said.

CB 3, which covers the neighborhoods of East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and North Corona, chose 17 capital budget priorities and 25 expense budget priorities for the next fiscal year’s budget. While the board plans to pass the proposal at its next monthly meeting Oct. 20, it took comments and made some revisions to the list.

Capital budgets include projects to improve or increase infrastructure or a public facility. For the upcoming year, the board named as its first priority constructing new school facilities — in particular, high schools and early childhood centers. The board also requested reducing the odor and improving the water flow in Flushing Bay, expanding the East Elmhurst Library and building a new structure and expanding capacity for the Jackson Heights Library.

Another recommendation was creating affordable housing for middle- and low-income families as well as seniors. CB 3 District Manager Giovanna Reid said this recommendation was marked with an asterisk because while it is needed, there are few places to put more housing.

“Currently there are no vacant lots or space within the district,” Reid said.

The expense budget priorities are used to request needed services in the district. Topping the list of items chosen by CB 3 is installing air pollution monitors due in Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst near LaGuardia Airport, which is adjacent to those communities. Other recommendations included keeping the Queens libraries open seven days a week until 9:30 p.m., replacing faded signs, repairing potholes, increasing personnel for the city Department of Buildings and increasing the city Parks Department’s maintenance and repair employees.

CB 3 also voted to approve a five-year variance for a Getty gas station on Astoria Boulevard and 101st Street that had let its variance lapse for 17 years, and voted against two newsstands proposed for the corner of 37th Avenue and 73rd Street in Jackson Heights. Board members and local business owners alike said the area was too congested and would be a magnet for graffiti, and there are stores that sell similar items found at newsstands in the district.

“The installation of a newsstand does not add an additional service,” said CB 3 member Stephen Kulhanek.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 12:57 pm, September 22, 2011
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