Hundreds of homeowners who have complained to the city about trees damaging sidewalks, making it easy for residents to trip over uneven pavement, are getting some relief, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Parks Department officials said last week.
Ulrich, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski gathered on 86th Street in Ozone Park last Thursday to announce that the councilman has given $1.1 million in city funds to the Parks Department so it can repair sidewalks damaged by trees outside 317 homes in the 32nd Council District.
The homeowners, who were able to get on the list for repairs by calling 311, live throughout Ulrich’s district, including in Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill. The repairs began March 12 and are expected to wrap up within the next six weeks.
“Hopefully, by this summer we won’t have any more tripping hazards,” Ulrich said. “It’s good for safety, good for kids and good for senior citizens.”
The work, which includes smoothing out the sidewalks while retaining the often large trees causing the problems, is being conducted at sites that landed a score of 65 or higher from the city. The city ranks the level of damage a tree has done to an area on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the worst.
“People have told my office that they’ve been on this list for a very long time,” Ulrich said. “It would’ve taken the Parks Department a long time to get to some of these individuals, but with this funding, we can get to anyone who scored 65 percent or higher.”
“This is a city full of walkers,” Benepe said. “They walk to their church, to their synagogue. We want people to be able to walk safely on the sidewalks.”
Noting that Queens is “known as the borough of trees,” Lewandowski emphasized that residents call 311 to register for the city’s tree repair program.