Elected officials from northeast Queens celebrated Arbor Day last week by gathering at Capt. Dermody Triangle in Bayside Hills to launch a “Greening Eastern Queens” study aimed at repairing the worn-down parks and greenspaces around the area.
Through the project, initiated by state Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing), elected officials and volunteers will document sites throughout Bayside Hills where sidewalks, park areas or shrubbery need to be repaired. The program is the second round of the initiative that Rozic started last year after receiving multiple complaints about unsightly plants and trees that were devastated by the extreme weather the city had been experiencing.
“After Sandy hit and because of the other weather incidents, there were a lot of tree stumps and pits that were overturned and rotting,” Rozic said. “So last year, we started to identify them.”
Rozic, whose 25th District stretches from Flushing Meadows Corona Park to the Cross Island Parkway in Little Neck, said she started Greening Eastern Queens last year in Hillcrest, where 92 locations were cataloged to receive new trees in that neighborhood alone.
The results of the canvass were turned over to the city Parks Department, and so far the agency has replaced 85 of those stumps with new trees since the start of the spring planting season in March, Rozic said.
The study now set to be evaluated in Bayside Hills will cover the area from 211th Street to Bell Boulevard between 48th Avenue and the Horace Harding Expressway.
Susan Seinfeld, district manager of Community Board 11, said that calls about forestry and parks maintenance are some of the most frequent requests CB 11 receives, and the board requested additional funding from the city during this year’s budget process to help beautify Bayside and its surrounding neighborhoods.
“It’s amazing the amount of calls that come in,” she said. “We know we need a lot of cleaning in the area and this is a great way to get these stumps removed and get some trees.”
Aside from the aesthetic aspect of the program, some civic leaders who joined the launch last week, said there are plenty of other benefits to focusing on replanting damaged shrubbery in the area.
“We welcome any kind of green activity in the area because it’s a win-win situation,” said Armando Cortino, vice president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association. “It makes the area beautiful but it also alleviates flooding if we have more trees.”
Immediately following the announcement Friday, Rozic led a group of volunteers to begin surveying the area and identifying the greenery that needs rehabilitation. She said she hopes the areas the canvass points out will be repaired by the Parks Department during the fall planting season this year.
Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurham@cn
©2014 Community News Group
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