June 15, By Jason Cohen
The City Council passed the budget last, which included millions of dollars for Astoria parks, libraries, schools and public housing.
A good chunk of the funds that are coming to the neighborhood are going toward Astoria’s parks, according to Councilman Costa Constantinides. Approximately $3 million is going toward upgrading Hallets Cove Playground (located by Astoria Houses), where the Parks Dept. plans to replace the existing asphalt blacktop and convert it into a multi-purpose ball field.
An additional $2 million has been allocated for the renovation of Whitey Ford Field, which will be spent on re-grading the baseball field, re-sodding grass and flood prevention. Some of the funding for that project will come via the Queens Borough President’s office.
The Astoria branch of the Queens Library will receive $3 million in funding, which is the largest allocation that branch has received in decades. The funds will go toward ensuring the entire building is ADA accessible and on improvements to the children’s room and other upgrades.
Some of the funds in the budget will be used to reduce New York’s– and Astoria’s–carbon footprint.
The city is paying a portion of the $300,000 that is going toward installing solar panels at the Queens Library Steinway branch, while covering the $1.1 million for solar panels at PS 122.
The councilman also allocated more than $1 million toward local public schools, with $160,000 going to both PS 84 and IS 126 for new hydroponic science labs. More than $900,000 is going toward computers, laptops and SMART boards at area schools.
Astoria Houses will receive $1 million that will be spent on upgrading the lighting at the parking lot and installing new closed-circuit TV cameras inside the stairwells. Additional funding was also given to the Astoria Houses Basketball Court, an investment now totaling $600,000.
Mount Sinai Queens, located at 25-10 30th Ave., will receive $1.8 million for a new acute stroke center so that western Queens residents will no longer have to go to Manhattan to receive time-sensitive care.
Constantinides said that more than $250,000 will be spent on sidewalk cleaning and graffiti removal in Astoria.
“I am honored to help pass this comprehensive and balanced budget,” Constantinides said. “We are proud to invest in our children, our public spaces, and our community’s health.”