By Eric Yun
Economic progress is still slow throughout Queens, but Borough President Helen Mar- shall said strides are being made to keep the borough thriving.
At her State of the Borough Address, Marshall focused on the work she’s accomplished over her last two terms and promised to keep progress moving forward.
“I look forward to completing projects and building new communities in my third term,” Marshall said.
Marshall focused on several key initiatives. She said she believes education is paramount to the borough’s success and praised the openings of several new schools. “PS 13 in Elmhurst opened a new annex,” Marshall said, “and PS 273 opened its doors with 379 seats in Richmond Hill.”
New schools in the area that opened this year includes the newly opened Metropolitan Avenue campus in Forest Hills, and the new Maspeth High School is currently under construction.
Marshall has also worked to improve the infrastructure in Queens. Last fall, the state Department of Transportation broke ground on repairs to the Kew Gardens Interchange— one of the most congested areas in the city where the Van Wyck Expressway, Jackie Robinson Parkway and Queens Boulevard all meet. Marshall has also pushed the city to fix sewers around Queens, specifically to alleviate flooding in areas like Broad Channel.
Through her tenure as Borough President, Marshall has allocated more than $354 million to libraries, parks, cultural institutions and historic houses. But Marshall blasted the way the city allocated money for libraries. “Last year, each and every branch in Queens received $77,000 less than Brooklyn branches,” she said.
At her address, Marshall asked Queens Council Members to draft legislation to fix the inequities in library funding. “This is not a borough against borough war,” Marshall said. “This is a matter of fairness.”
Ten senior centers have closed in Queens, and more cuts are on the way. Marshall promised to do everything she could to provide services for seniors. “Believe me, we will continue to fight these cuts.”
One way Marshall helped local seniors was providing funds for the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps to house resident seniors.
“We’re very grateful to Ms. Marshall, and our other elected officials, for coming together and crafting a plan that not only helps our seniors, but also benefits the volunteer ambulance corps at the same time,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association. “It’s a win-win scenario for the residents of Woodhaven.”
Marshall has also been dedicated to funding parks. She has allocated more than $140
million for park projects. Her funding has helped renovate the bandshell in Forest Park and a new baseball field and cricket pitch was unveiled at Southern Fields in Ozone Park.
Betty Braton, chairwoman of Community Board 10, was grateful for Marshall’s help. “We look forward to her continued support of park projects in our area,” Braton said.