2015-04-15 / Front Page

Roosevelt Island Development Discussed At CB1 Meeting

By Thomas Cogan
The Community Board 1 cabinet meeting for April had a parade of presenters in the board room of Kaufman Astoria Studios to talk about such matters as current construction on Roosevelt Island, whether of new residential buildings or the Cornell Technion science and technology campus; the decontaminating of an abandoned oil pipeline; a review of the street cleaning that had to be done in March because of the lack of it in February, owing to the need instead for snow removal; a Sanitation report about mapping out the territory in Dutch Kills and elsewhere, preparatory to issuing summonses to non-compliant auto repair shops therein; and a notification that the trial run of Taxi Smart cards ends in June, after two and a half years.

The first group introduced by Lucille Hartmann, CB 1’s district manager, was the Long Island City office of AHRC, the Adult Habilitation and Recreation Center located in the Cyril Weinberg building, 32-03 39th Ave., near Northern Boulevard.  Program Supervisor Jason Schneider and Thomas Kernhahan, an AHRC member, described how they stage events for charitable causes, one such event being an automobile show Sunday, May 17 on 177th Street near Booth Memorial Avenue in Flushing.

Lynda Marmara, formerly community affairs officer at the 114th Police Precinct and now deputy director of the Roosevelt Island Department of Public Safety, was there to report on general matters on the island.  She said that two residential buildings have been added to the earlier ones, and when asked about the status of Cornell Technion, she said that demolition of the old Goldwater Memorial Hospital, to make way for Cornell Technion residential buildings, was proceeding.  (Goldwater is now joined with Bird S. Coler Hospital at the north end of the island.)  Luigi DiRico, District 1 supervisor of the Department of Sanitation, was concerned that south end construction would impede collections but Marmara assured him that any current roadway disruptions would be fully restored.

Andres Ledesma, public affairs officer for Con Edison, said work is currently being done to clean oil and other residue from an old pipeline that runs from Newtown Creek to Astoria.  It is no longer being used and, in Con Ed’s words, must be “retired,” though not before being decontaminated and filled with grout.  Lesdesma said that currently oil removal, or “pigging,” is being performed.  When it and all other decontaminants are removed, grouting will insure that nothing can be put in the pipeline.  There are several work locations, including:  36th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard; 14th Street and 37th Avenue; 21st Street and the Queensboro Bridge approach; 21st Street and 45th Avenue; 47th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard; 5th Street and 50th Avenue; and 54th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard.  Work is expected to be completed in early May.

Eddie Negron, current community affairs officer a the 114th Precinct, had an upbeat crime report.  He said there was an 18 percent drop in index crime occurrences during the current year, to the end of March.  A new foot patrol program, aimed at drawing the community and police closer, is now in effect, he added.  There is a shortage of crossing guards, however, and a recruitment effort is being conducted.  He brought up the Citizens’ Police Academy, calling it vitally important, and got a positive response from those familiar with it.  A C.P.A. course lasts 14 weeks and aims to acquaint participants with the problems and procedures of law enforcement.  Courses are conducted in the fall and spring; the spring course has already begun.

DiRico of the Department of Sanitation said that snow removal was paramount in the snowy month of February, so street sweeping was de-emphasized.  Therefore, when the snow melted, an ugly amount of detritus emerged.  DiRico said there were some issues with the public over that, but matters worked out well in the end.  He also said that territory running southward from 36th Avenue to Queens Plaza North and westward from 31st Street to the East River has been mapped and automobile dealers and repair shops identified.  Now, summonses can be issued to those places that park cars on sidewalks or in other spots off limits to them.

Timothy Smith of the Fire Department said that on Saturday, May 2, every firehouse in the city will be open to the public for a two-hour period, either from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.  Smith said that would include the Emergency Medical Service station, newly opened under the Triboro Bridge.

Frank Fontana of the Department of Environmental Protection said that water rates have been steadily increasing over the years, largely in order to meet federal mandates about such matters as the clean-up of Newtown Creek.  Hearings on water rates are scheduled all over the city, with the Queens meeting taking place Thursday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. at La Guardia Community College, 45-50 Van Dam Street, Room E-242.

Lucille Hartmann said that the Taxi Smart pilot program, begun two years ago in the Community Board 1 district and in and in another CB district in Brooklyn, is expiring in June. She said the program allows the elderly to purchase a taxi smart card for $12.50 that is then increased $87.50 to $100, good for rides in taxis or Access-a-Ride vehicles.  However, as intended, the program is finishing its run.  Hartmann did not say what kind of future the program has in the city but advised that those taking advantage of it should fill the unused portions of their cards before the deadline at the end of May.

Stephanie Fernandez of The Floating Hospital said that summer camp physical exams for children and camp counselors are being done Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at two Queensbridge Houses locations, 41-43 Crescent St. and 10-29 41st Ave.  The cost is $30.00 for children and $35.00 for summer youth counselors, though TFH also accepts most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare.  Immunization records, camp physical forms and cash or insurance cards are necessary.  All children aged five to 17 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to receive a physical.  Inquiries should be made to 718-784-2240, ext. 107.    


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