July 5, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Paul Vallone secured $37 million in funding for Northeast Queens — including $20 million to build a brand new playground in Bay Terrace — from the city’s newly passed Fiscal Year 2022 budget Wednesday.
Vallone and the majority of his colleagues voted to approve the $98.7 billion city budget — which was helped by a flood of $14 billion in federal aid — Wednesday. The budget passed with a vote of 39 to 6.
The $37 million will fund infrastructure upgrades to schools, parks and libraries as well as local nonprofit organizations and senior services in Council District 19, which covers Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba and Whitestone.
“I have fought hard to make sure that Northeast Queens was not ignored and given our fair share and recognition that it deserves as a part of this great city,” Vallone said in a statement Thursday. “We are excited for the future of our district, and the impact of these projects will be felt for generations to come.”
In a major win for the district, Vallone secured $20 million in capital funding to build a new 1.5-acre playground next to a future school in Bay Terrace. The playground will be built on Parks Department land across the street from the lot where a 572-seat elementary school will be erected at the corner of Water’s Edge Drive and 24th Avenue.
“Thanks to Council Member Vallone, we’re creating a brand new playground for the children and families of Bay Terrace to enjoy,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.
The Parks Department will hold a scope meeting with local community leaders for the playground to gather input before a final design is unveiled. However, early concepts include creating a children’s play area, comfort station, walking paths, adult fitness equipment, security lighting and parking lot.
Vallone also allocated $700,000 in collaboration with Queens Borough President Donovan Richards to upgrade the playground at MS 379 in College Point as well as $440,000 for PS 209 for audio visual upgrades inside its auditorium.
He also announced that every school within the district will receive a minimum of $50,000 to fund important technology upgrades.
Vallone also earmarked several million dollars for parks and greenspace in Northeast Queens, including $4.5 million for College Point Fields to convert an existing baseball field into soccer fields and $2.75 million for Raymond O’Connor Park to build pathways and renovate its synthetic soccer fields.
He also secured $2.7 million to renovated the Center for the Women of New York building renovations at Fort Totten and $500,000 to build an outdoor reading garden at the Auburndale Library.
The council member also secured $150,000 to place NYPD security cameras throughout the district to help combat quality of life issues like drag racing in the community.
Vallone was also proud to advocate for and secure $7.1 million 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.
Lastly, he secured over $1 million that will be distributed among nonprofits in his district, such as the Bayside Village BID, Commonpoint Queens, the Alley Pond Environmental Center, Douglaston LDC, Poppenhusen Institute, Korean Community Services and HANAC Angelo Petromelis Senior Center.