July 5, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Funds have been allocated to upgrade a number of Flushing parks, libraries and schools from the city’s newly-passed Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
Council District 20, which covers Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Mitchell Linden and parts of Whitestone and Fresh Meadows, will receive a total of $39 million in funding from the city’s largest ever budget, Council Member Peter Koo announced Wednesday.
Koo and the majority of his colleagues voted to approve the $98.7 billion city budget — which was helped by a flood of $14 billion in federal aid — Wednesday. The budget passed with a vote of 39 to 6.
“As we continue on our road to recovery following the worst pandemic of our generation, the funding I secured with my colleagues in this year’s budget will help New Yorkers get back on their feet,” Koo said in a statement.
Koo secured funding for infrastructure like schools and parks, as well as services that assist constituents with accessing food and healthcare.
The biggest allocation in the district was $10 million that will go toward overhauling the track and athletic field at Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows. The track has long suffered from worn and uneven surfaces that create hazardous conditions for athletes, according to Koo’s office.
Every school in the district will also receive capital funding — $14.9 million altogether for Fiscal Year 2022.
The money will go toward technology upgrades at PS 20, PS 162, PS 242, PS 244, Queens Academy High School, Queens High School for Language Studies, and Veritas Academy. It will also fund auditorium and gym upgrades at PS 24, PS 120, PS 163, PS 177, PS 214, and Flushing International High School. PS 22 will also receive a $500,000 allocation for security cameras.
Millions will also go toward renovating parks, playgrounds and green space in the district.
The budget sets aside $2.4 million for the second phase of the revamp of Captain Mario Fajardo Playground in Kissena Corridor Park. Last year, Koo secured $3.2 million toward the playground renovation.
The Kissena Park Velodrome bicycle track in the same park will also get $2.5 million for safety improvements.
Nearby, the green space adjacent to the Queens Botanical Garden on College Point Boulevard and Blossom Avenue will be upgraded with $950,000 from the budget.
The upgrades are part a project put together by Koo’s office, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, the Queens Botanical Garden and Bao Kang Adult Day Care. The revamp includes repaving the existing pathway and installing lighting.
Meanwhile, $3.5 million has been allocated toward a full renovation of Weeping Beech Park in Flushing. The funds will be spent on renovating the basketball courts, playground and other areas.
Koo has also earmarked $2 million for two libraries in the district. The funding will be used for resiliency efforts at Queensboro Hill Library and renovations at Mitchell-Linden Library.
Funds will also go toward after-school programs, domestic violence counseling, senior transportation through Selfhelp Community Services, graffiti removal, arts and cultural programs, and more.
He has also allocated $710,000 that will help fund 99 programs across 95 different Asian American Pacific Islander(AAPI) organizations, including South Asian Council for Social Services, Korean American Family Service Center, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation and more.
In addition to funding for local AAPI community groups, Koo lauded a new $4 million influx of citywide funds that will go toward supporting the AAPI community.
“Our community fought hard for a tangible solution to the devastating impact of the pandemic and rise in Asian hate crimes,” Koo said. “This new funding is a great first step that I hope will become a permanent commitment to addressing the systemic disparities that exist in our community.”