The State of the Borough
by Heather Senison
Jan 24, 2012 | 355 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Photo: Kenneth B. Goldberg
Borough President Helen Marshall delivered her 2012 State of the Borough address at Queens College Tuesday morning, in which she said millions of dollars invested in capital projects and an improving healthcare system is putting Queens on the path towards growth.

“I am grateful for the honor to have allocated more than a half-billion dollars over the past decade to improve our borough,” Marshall told hundreds of attendees.

She cited more than $143 million invested in new parks and additions to playgrounds, $116 million to cultural institutions and historic places, and more than $106 million put towards technological improvements in Queens Libraries.

“I have worked hard to put our borough on a firm footing for future generations,” she said.

Capital projects provide jobs and attract visitors to the borough, she said.

Marshall noted the Aquaduct Racino has so far created 1,600 jobs, and a developer for the first half of the $50 million Willets Point infrastructure project will be announced later this year.

Marshall said her goal for improved healthcare in Queens has a brighter prognosis, with the salvation of the Peninsula Hospital in Rockaway.

“We have finally saved a hospital,” she said.

The hospital's new President and CEO Todd Miller and his board of directors recently expressed interest in constructing a new state-of-the-art facility at the hospital, she said.

Marshall allocated a half-million dollars in her 2011 Capital Budget for new hospital equipment, including digital mammography units, at St. John's Episcopal in Rockaway.

In addition, New York Hospital Queens will open a new Urgent Care and Dental Emergency Unit later this week, she said, and Mt. Sinai Queens in Astoria recently filed an application with the state to modernize and expand its facilities.

On the education front, Marshall said the fight to reduce school overcrowding, such as what P.S. 19 in Corona and P.S. 96 in South Ozone Park experience, rages on.

“School District 24 continues to hold the dubious distinction of being the most overcrowded in the entire city,” she said.

Marshall noted progress on opening four new schools in Queens, providing more than 1,700 new seats in 2011. Plans are underway to open another 10 schools in the next two years, adding nearly 6,000 more seats to the borough, she said.

Marshall also pledged to fight for federal dollars under the Title 1 Program, to provide services for low-income students and to protect the seven Beacon Schools at risk from proposed budget cuts.

Other issues she addressed included environmental protection projects, such as a cleanup plan for the Newtown Creek Superfund site that she said will be ready for public review in the near future.

Marshall also called on the state Department of Environmental Conservation to delay hydraulic fracturing permits for the Marcellus Shale “until we are 100 percent certain that our city's drinking water won't be threatened by the process.”

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