With the new voting procedure, our Woodhaven polling places have to be credited for doing their job with excellence and professionalism. After the election, we congratulated our newly elected city officials. They are William de Blasio elected as mayor, Scott Springer elected as comptroller, and Letitia James elected as public advocate.
Also, our newly elected Queens borough president is Melinda Katz, and she has designated as deputy borough president, Leroy Comrie. The Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation and Woodhaven Business Improvement District wish our newly elected officials the very best in their new positions. May they be very successful and supportive of our little community of Woodhaven.
To our elected officials leaving office, we thank them for their excellent public service, leadership, commitment and consideration of our Woodhaven community.
In 2013, it was deja vu all over again when the old defeated cause of reactivating the Rockaway Beach Rail Line was raised. Twice, many years ago, this 3.5-mile abandoned line had been proposed to be renewed.
In both instances, these proposals were soundly defeated by a coalition of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale and Woodhaven leaders and residents. In every proposal, including the recent one, these communities have opposed their backyards being exposed to the disruption to their quality of life.
Now also proposed is a QueensWay, a High Line-like park. The QueensWay has been given over $435,000 for a “study” by Governor Andrew Cuomo. At this time, the mile area is quiet and if any activity should take place there, it should be its cleaning and its maintenance, for it is part of Forest Park.
Again, Woodhaven residents will have to discuss this and also consider an additional proposal made by the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. This is a discussion that will continue through 2014. Now to the 2013 GWDC/WBID Wish List:
• More police officers for the 102nd Precinct. Although we still do not have enough police officers, crime is low at our 102nd Precinct. This wish remains on our 2014 list.
• New LED street lights along Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue from Dexter Court to 100th Street. This is still under consideration.
• More trees on Jamaica Avenue. This will be pursued as six new planters and trees at this time. The WBID has been advised by the Parks Department that no new trees will be planted on Jamaica Avenue. Our organization will continue to pursue this tree project.
• Benches for Jamaica Avenue. The installation of new benches has been proposed for various locations along the avenue. In 2013, two businesses responded and had two benches installed free of charge by the city. Hopefully more locations will request these attractive, durable benches in 2014.
• The securing of an elevator for the Woodhaven Boulevard train station. This elevator would assist the disabled, elderly and other train riders with easy access to our J and Z elevated subway lines.
• The return of the NYPD Mounted Troop G Unit to the 102nd Precinct. The return of the Mounted was on our wish list since they were removed. We now join our elected officials for the return of this Mounted Unit Troop G to be stabled within our 102nd Precinct to make it available to our Forest Park.
• The rezoning of Woodhaven. This, the most important project, was accomplished in September 2012. The rezoning of Woodhaven will for posterity preserve and secure the character of our Woodhaven community, with the big Victorian homes being downzoned, so that now they can not be demolished and replaced with small apartment buildings, and the upzoning of Jamaica Avenue. This rezoning has been a seven-year project spearheaded by GWDC President Stephen Esposito and the support of the WBID President Mathew Xenakis and with the assistance of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association. This was momentous for our community.
• The painting of our J Line and the repair of the stanchions along Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue. This wish commenced in November 2010 and concluded in 2013. A great accomplishment for the GWDC/WBID after 25 years.
• The landmarking of the Forest Park Carousel so that it will be preserved and eligible for preservation funding.This wish was fulfilled after the GWDC pursued this designation for 30 years. Now our wish will be the enclosing of the carousel for year-round use, and a restaurant in line with the restaurant in Bryant Park.
There are many other small challenges that the GWDC and WBID face and overcome on a daily basis, which have not been listed or noted. In 2014, through the GWDC we look forward to working to bring to positive resolution any projects that will affect our stores, businesses, and apartment buildings throughout Woodhaven. Through the WBID, to do the same on Jamaica Avenue from 100th Street to Dexter Court.
May 2014 be a healthy, happy, prosperous year for you and yours and for all in our little town of Woodhaven. May God bless our leaders, may God bless our armed forces, may God bless our disabled veterans, and may God bless our America.