State Of The Queens Borough 2017

State Of The Queens Borough 2017

I had the privilege of attending Queens Borough President Melinda Katz State of the Borough address on Jan. 27 at York College in Jamaica.


Here is a quick recap:



Queens Borough President Melinda Katz highlighted:


  • the transformation of the skyline along the East River

  • the improvements to the New York State Pavilion & Arthur Ashe Stadium 

  • the investments in Jamaica through the Jamaica Now Action Plan and LaGuardia and JFK Airports.

  • the 5 percent increase in jobs since 2013

  • 34 planned hotels in the borough and $60 billion in economic activity from both airports

  • LaGuardia Airport is currently going through a $4 billion construction project, the first complete rebuild of any airport nationwide in more than 20 years. 

  • JFK Airport will receive a $10 billion overhaul.



Public schools:


  • where two high schools including Townsend Harris High School and Queens High School for the Sciences are ranked among the Top 10 in New York State. 

  • Katz also pointed out challenges – Queens still has the highest overcrowding rate where elementary schools are at 119 percent capacity and high schools are at 111 percent capacity.

  • Since 2013, 11 new schools were created and six existing schools have been expanded. A 461% increase in pre-K seats has resulted in 20,000 seats for toddlers and 43 classroom trailers have been removed.



Transportation: 


  • Citywide Ferry Service being expanded through Long Island City, Astoria and the Rockaways.

  • A new LIRR station will run through Elmhurst and the Main Street LIRR stop in Flushing has been renovated.

  • “Queens is a transit desert,” she said. “Our subways reach only a third of the borough. The subways and buses we do have are overflowing due to ever increasing ridership. 

  • Katz commended the Governor and the Mayor for putting forth ambitious transportation agendas, though she mentioned that these individual projects shouldn’t be done in a vacuum

  • She requested a “comprehensive plan with a macro view, a citywide, coordinated transportation agenda for tomorrow that also addresses the unique challenges of each borough.”



Housing: 


  • has also been a challenge in the borough, with rising rents and a growing population. 

  • Katz addressed the large homeless population in the city and the city’s reliance on hotels to house homeless families which has a huge impact in Queens. 

  • She requested that a special permit should be issued to place hotels so that there us community input and a way for the government to better monitor hotel growth. 



Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Willets Point:


  • She called for leaders to “be unafraid to think bigger, bolder and more comprehensively” in terms of expanding Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Willets Point.


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Dated: February 3rd 2017
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