The ongoing manhunt for the Forest Park rapist dominated the 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday night in Richmond Hill, along with suggestions on how to improve safety in the park.
Deputy Inspector Hank Sautner, the precinct’s commanding officer, stood next to giant wanted posters featuring the sketch of the suspect and information in English and Spanish.
The discussion focused around the lighting issues, highlighted in the last few weeks by Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association.
Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) spoke to the Council and said he would be allocating $250,000 toward placing security cameras in Forest Park.
“I want to make sure the $250,000 goes to Forest Park, and not Central Park,” he said. “We’re working on it.”
The park has also been the scene of numerous car break-ins, especially along Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South.
As with every meeting, Sautner addressed a number of concerns from residents.
A resident of Ozone Park complained about skateboarders on 101st Avenue, especially in the parking lot of Queens County Savings Bank when banks are closed.
“They don’t look kosher,” the resident said of the skateboarders, though she said she had not seen any vandalism or graffiti of any kind.
Wendell told the commanding officer that the crossing guard posted at 89th Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard retired and a replacement was needed.
“That’s going to be dealt it,” Sautner said, adding that the school safety coordinator has interviewed potential crossing guards.
Sautner also noted that he already has a working relationship with Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, the new commanding officer of the 106th Precinct. He and Schiff have spoken about problems that straddle both of the precincts, including illegal truck parking on Woodhaven Boulevard and the recently approved pedestrian plazas in City Line.
“I’m very confident we will have a great working relationship, as I had with [the former commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Thomas] Pascale,” Sautner said.
On the plazas, Sautner didn’t see any serious concerns about their construction from a safety standpoint.
Bruno Iciano, community coordinator for the Department of Sanitation, also spoke to the council and fielded questions about ongoing garbage issues along Jamaica Avenue.
Maria Thomson, executive director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, said there has been an ongoing problem not only with household trash in street bins, but also with trash dumping in front of businesses that has led to owners being fined for garbage they never knew was tossed where they’re responsible for it.
“This comes from apartment buildings dwellers and illegal conversions. They all put their garbage in corner receptacles,” she said.
Wendell said a similar problem has occurred a few times in front of the WRBA office on Jamaica Avenue and the group had to pay the fines.
“When we left one night, there was no garbage in front of our place,” Wendell explained. “When we came in the morning, we got a ticket for garbage we did not place there.”
Wendell added that the Sanitation Department picked up the garbage before the WRBA offices opened, so he never saw it.
Iciano suggested taking photos to prove the dumping in the future.