Grodenchik Named Deputy Boro President
Grodenchik will also serve as Director of Community Boards and be responsible for parks-related, as well as numerous other, issues. He was elected to the state Assembly for the 22nd District in November 2002 and served there for two years.
Prior to election to the Assembly, Grodenchik was Chief of Administration for former Borough President Claire Shulman from 1991 to 2002. Before that he was the Queens Regional Representative at the New York State Department of State and Queens County ombudsman for former Governor Mario Cuomo. Most recently, Grodenchik worked for a government and political relations firm in the city.
“Barry is a seasoned public servant with experience at the state and county level,” Marshall said in a press statement. “He has been involved in the planning and fruition of many projects in Queens and has the experience to serve our county well.”
Grodenchik succeeds Karen Koslowitz who was elected to the City Council for the second time after an absence of eight years.
“It’s good to be home again,” said Grodenchik at the cabinet meeting. “I know many of the chairs and DM’s (community board chairpersons and district managers.” He added, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
One issue Grodenchik may soon be looking at, as parks liaison, is the announcement that budgetary problems have cut nine Queens schoolyards from the effort to put a playground or park within a 10-minute walk of all New Yorkers.
In 2007, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pegged 290 sites for conversion to places where the public could recreate after school and on weekends, in accordance with the mayor’s PlaNYC environment program.
Although 96 schoolyards have been upgraded, the cutback has canceled plans for 24 others. In addition to nine eliminated in Queens, eight in Brooklyn and seven in The Bronx were cut in a move that is expected to save the city $25 million.
“It’s an example of how fiscal difficulties are affecting neighborhoods,” said Doug Turetsky, chief of staff for the city’s Independent Budget Office, as reported in the December 17 New York Times.
Sites too expensive to renovate or not viable for conversion because of access issues or inadequate space were chosen, said a mayoral spokesman in the December 17 Times article. Budgets for play equipment, repairs to pavement and new fencing have gone down 26 percent since 2007.
New York City has 4.6 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, compared to a median of 6.8 acres per 1,000 residents for 13 other densely populated areas. Expected to create new play space for 360,000 children, the program has a long way to go according to the Independent Budget Office, which said, “Many of the schoolyards yet to be finished under the plan require the most work.”