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Council Member Vallone Announces $20 Million in Funding Improvements for Northeast Queens

On June 30, the New York City Council passed the City budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and Council Member Paul A. Vallone is proud to announce that, in one of the most challenging budget years in recent memory due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, he was able to fight for and secure $20 million for improvements throughout Northeast Queens. Council Member Vallone proudly secured nearly $5 million for upgrades at local schools and over $10 million for improvements to parks in his Council District. In seven years of fiscal budgets, Vallone has now secured well over $120 million in funding for Northeast Queens.

Vallone is proud to announce that every school within the district will receive a minimum of $50,000 to fund important technology upgrades. Council Member Vallone’s budget also provides significant improvements to our parks, with $5 million and $3.4 million allocated to complete waterfront, esplanade and seawall repairs at MacNeil Park and pathway renovations at Joe Michael’s Mile (North), respectively. Scope meetings for these long awaited projects will be held with the Parks Department and local community leaders later this year.

“I am thrilled to share the news that these two Parks projects, long awaited and wished for, will soon see completion!” said Council Member Vallone. “These record financial victories for our Northeast Queens community are promises kept and will have positive impacts that will carry into future generations. I thank Speaker Corey Johnson for his partnership in seeing these capital improvements become a reality.”

A total of $1.6 million in funding was also allocated in partnership with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson for ecological restorations at College Point’s Powells Cove. This is one of 11 projects on this year’s Participatory Budgeting ballot that the Council Member fought to fund in this year’s budget, despite the citywide cancellation of this year’s voting cycle due to COVID-19.

“Supporting the safety and well being of our Northeast Queens families, principals, teachers, and students will always be a top priority, and this year’s budget once again reflects just that, with millions in funding secured to make improvements to our schools, parks, and libraries that will be enjoyed for years to come,” said Council Member Vallone. “I was also happy to honor the hard, grassroots work of our Participatory Budgeting delegates by securing funding for 11 total projects proposed and submitted directly by the Northeast Queens community.”

“Powells Cove Park is a potentially beautiful natural area that‘s suffered from inadequate maintenance and upkeep since its creation, even as usage increases dramatically,” said Kathryn Cervino, President of the Coastal Preservation Network. “The people of College Point deserve better and we are grateful to Council Member Vallone for securing these funds. We look forward to partnering on plans to improve flood-prone and worn out trails, thin the hazardous overgrowth, beautify entryways and add trash cans to ease the rampant littering. This park is truly a gem in the rough.”

Additional participatory budgeting projects funded in this year’s budget include a $674,00 classroom renovation at JHS 194, accomplished in partnership with Borough President Sharon Lee, and a $500,000 year-round Reading Garden at Auburndale Library in partnership with Speaker Johnson.

“The updates to the two rooms in our school is an exciting thing for our school, as it will provide additional updated classroom space for our students,” said Jennifer Miller, Principal of JHS 194. “Thank you to everyone who helped to develop and support this project, including Mr. Koe, our SLT and PTA, and Council Member Vallone.”

“Council Member Vallone’s $500,000 investment in the reading garden at our Auburndale branch demonstrates his commitment to reinforcing this library’s role as a vibrant neighborhood resource,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We are deeply grateful for his support of our mission to transform lives and build strong communities through advancing lifelong learning opportunities.”

The other participatory budgeting projects funded in the budget are a $1 million playground renovation at PS 184; $350,000 Auditorium A/V Upgrade at PS 169/Bell Academy; $350,000 towards land acquisition at Udalls Cove Park; $300,000 Gymnasium Upgrade at JHS 185; Technology Upgrades at MS 67, 379 and PS 376 ($200,000, $130,000 and $100,000, respectively); and $250,000 for NYPD Security Cameras.

Additional capital investments include a $820,00 funding allocation with Speaker Johnson to St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, New York’s largest provider of long-term care to children with medically complex conditions and New York City’s only post-acute care facility for children. The funding will be used to add 10 additional beds to the 4th floor of their facility in Bayside.

“Council Member Paul Vallone is a true champion for New York’s most critically ill and injured children and their families,” said Dr. Eddie Simpser, CEO of St. Mary’s. “We are incredibly grateful for his long standing support of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children and our work as the city’s only free standing post acute care facility for children with medically complex conditions.”

Vallone was also proud to advocate for and secure $5.1M in funding for the Support Our Seniors initiative, which he established in 2015 and provides each Council Member equal funding to support local senior services at their discretion. In addition, funding remained at historic levels for the CUNY Merit-Based Scholarship, the “Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship,” which was funded at $16 million, providing scholarships to tens of thousands of NYC students attending a CUNY school who maintain a B average.

Finally, Vallone secured over $1 million to directly support nonprofits in his district, such as the Bayside Village BID, Commonpoint Queens, the Alley Pond Environmental Center, Douglaston LDC, Poppenhusen Institute, and HANAC Angelo Petromelis Senior Center.

Photo credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks (October 2019)

Read More in the Following Publications:

Budget 2020
Queens Chronicle
Queens Gazette
Queens County Politics
Flushing Post