Midsummer isn’t a quiet time for Woodhaven residents and civic leaders.
During a town hall meeting Saturday that drew a sizable audience to Emanuel United Church of Christ, the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association addressed more than half a dozen issues, most of them ongoing problems facing the area, including graffiti, illegally parked cars, and a collapsed Jamaica Avenue building that many worry is a safety risk.
To combat the graffiti problem, Ed Wendell, the former WRBA president, proposed several steps.
He suggested that any graffiti found in the Woodhaven Business Improvement District, which covers Jamaica Avenue from 100th Street to Dexter Court, should be reported to the Greater Woodhaven Development Corp. office at (718) 805-0202.
“We want to keep track of this,” he said.
For graffiti on residential buildings, he suggested calling 311. He stressed that this applies to any house, not necessarily the caller’s own place of residence. When calling 311 as a nonowner, he said it is important to specifically say you are calling regarding “a graffiti cleanup request of a residence by a nonowner.”
“The city will come. It works,” he said, adding that the city won’t clean floors above the first floor or roll-up gates, but garage doors will be taken care of.
For difficult cases, he said to contact the office of Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) at (718) 738-1083.
And Wendell encouraged those in attendance to participate in the WRBA’s volunteer graffiti clean-up campaigns, which primarily target mailboxes and silver poles in the area.
“All we need are the bodies,” he said.
He encouraged everyone to keep the WRBA informed of all cases of graffiti by calling (718) 296-3735. As an incentive, Wendell offered to personally award $25 to the person who reports the most cases by Oct. 1.
Regarding a collapsed building at 78-19 Jamaica Ave., WRBA President Martin Colberg indicated that the association is waiting to hear back from the Department of Buildings on the matter and it is “something we need to stay on top of.”
Another long-standing concern is the number of abandoned and illegally parked cars that continue to line local streets. It was suggested that relevant complaints be reported to the local precinct.
Fran Crimi, a longtime area resident, has been compiling information on the issue. Colberg asked her to meet with him to discuss it at a future date.
Also of concern is the mayor’s proposal to legalize some basement apartments. Colberg said “the city has to find other ways to find housing. This is the easy, dangerous way.”
Angel Vazquez, chief of staff to Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven), announced that Miller has introduced a bill requiring serial numbers on automobile tires and rims in an effort to cut down on a rash of thefts in the area. In addition, he said that Miller has allocated $250,000 for more security cameras in the district. He had previously allocated money for cameras in Forest Park.
Greg Mitchell, from Ulrich’s office, said the Council member is allocating funding for improved lighting and more garbage cans along Jamaica Avenue, as well as for repaving on Woodhaven Boulevard between Park Lane South and 91st Avenue.
It was also announced at the meeting that a study is still being conducted regarding bus lanes and proposed select bus service along Woodhaven Boulevard, an idea that has garnered opposition from some area residents, who are concerned about the potential effect on traffic and parking.
Several upcoming events were announced.
Emanuel United Church of Christ will host a blood drive on July 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and beginning Aug. 2, will offer a defensive driving class. To register, call (718) 849-1153. Both will take place at the church at 93-12 91 Ave.
On Sept. 19, the office of state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) will sponsor a job fair at the Rockaway YMCA from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sept. 27 is the date for the Great Woodhaven Yard Sale. More details can be found at projectwoodhaven.com.
The next town hall meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. at the church.