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Queens Chronicle

How to use settlement money? You decide

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Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:00 am

In 2008, the state Department of Environmental Conservation settled with the city for $10 million after the city failed to meet its deadlines in upgrading the Newtown Creek wastewater treatment plant. In December, New Yorkers will have a say in what is done with the money.

Twenty-two projects have been proposed and the City Parks Foundation will be holding voting sessions on Dec. 1, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Queens Library’s Court Square branch, located at 25-01 Jackson Ave. and on Dec. 2, from 3 to 8 p.m. at PS 34 in Brooklyn, at 131 Norman Ave.

Anyone can vote, but according to Newtown Historical Society President Christina Wilkinson, the votes from Queens and Brooklyn residents will weigh more.

Proposed projects range from the construction of a bike-racing track at an as-yet undecided location, to the creation of a park at the former St. Savior’s Church and parsonage site at 57-40 58 St. in Maspeth.

Two other proposals — the purchase of materials for the Queens Library and Cultural Center planned for Hunter’s Point, and the creation of a community facility and park with an athletic field along the waterfront on 47th Avenue in Dutch Kills, are the only other Queens-specific suggestions.

Several others ideas, including a tree planting project, do not have specific locations.

The foundation conducted a feasibility study for each project and graded them accordingly. Projects that could be completed within three to four years and took place on city-owned land were given a higher grade, while those without specific locations or plans received lower grades. The bike-racing project received the lowest grade, C.

St. Savior’s park received a B, materials for the Hunter’s Point library received an A, and the Dutch Kills park proposal obtained a B. It is unclear how these grades will impact the foundation’s final recommendations to the DEC. The foundation official in charge of the vote could not be reached for comment.

Though the proposals for projects in Queens range in cost from around $200,000 for the library materials to $8.5 million for the purchase of St. Savior’s, the foundation may recommend the DEC allocate partial funding to any or all of the proposals.

“They are going to take a vote, see who is interested in what and then submit their final list to the DEC. There could be issues that aren’t coming up now that could come up down the road,” Wilkinson said.

The DEC will make the final decision regarding which projects to fund.

Welcome to the discussion.