June 29, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
Items from the City’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget are slated to pop up along Astoria’s waterfront, sidewalks, schools and libraries.
The City Council approved the $78.5 billion budget on Friday.
One of the bigger-ticket items for Astoria is an eco-dock on the Hallets Peninsula, which received $2 million in this year’s budget.
As described in Councilman Costa Constantinides’ State of the District address in January, this eco-dock is intended to revitalize the shoreline by providing recreational and educational space on the water. The dock will include seating, greenery and a kayak launch.
According to Constantinides’ office, construction of the eco-dock will run roughly $4 million, so the neighborhood may have some time to wait on its arrival. The Councilman and Borough President Melinda Katz each allocated $1 million towards the project in this budget, and Katz promised further funding in FY 2017.
Constantinides also allocated funds for upgrades at three schools in his district.
PS 2 received $200,000 for a new music room and PS 151 received $300,000 for renovated bathrooms. PS 122 received $50,000 for a study regarding the installation of solar panels on its roof.
Technology upgrades, such as new laptops, tablets and SMART Boards will also come to all public schools in the Councilman’s district.
Mount Sinai Queens received special attention, with $2.3 million allocated from the Council’s Queens Delegation and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which will go toward robotic tools for minimally-invasive surgeries.
For the second full fiscal year, Constantinides allocated $68,000 to the Doe Fund, a nonprofit that hires homeless individuals for street cleaning jobs. The “men in blue,” as they are known, will continue their work along 30th Avenue, Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Street.
Astoria will also benefit from several Citywide initiatives included in the budget.
New York’s library systems received an additional $39 million to allow for six-day service at all branches.
On top of these extended hours, the Astoria branch of the Queens Library will be renovated for ADA accessibility, at a cost of $180,000 from Constantinides’ discretionary funds.
The City will also get roughly 1,300 new officers from $170 million in funding. The NYPD will decide where the new police are ultimately stationed.