The Ravenswood Houses in Astoria is about to get a bit brighter.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and New York City Housing Authority Chairwoman and CEO Shola Olatoye joined residents of the housing complex on April 18 to announce $4 million, the final amount of funding needed to install state-of-the-art lighting systems throughout the development, had been secured.
“With these much needed upgrades and improvements, this project will enhance security for all residents, families and seniors throughout the development. This project has been a priority for me since the first day I took office,” Van Bramer said. “I am proud we were able to secure the necessary funding to make this project a reality.”
More than $1 million of the funds are coming from the office of Van Bramer, the majority leader, directly while NYCHA is footing the remaining $3 million.
“These important upgrades will provide safer and better-illuminated building entrances, walkways and recreational areas for the benefit of our residents and the community,” Olatoye said.
According to Christina Serna, director of the HANAC Ravenswood Senior Center, many older residents like to stay in their facility to get out of the hot sun.
“Many of our seniors do not have air conditioning, so they like to come to us and stay in our cool senior center,” Serna said. “But with the lack of lighting, they don’t want to leave their homes near dark. This will allow us to cater to more of our seniors without them worrying about walking through dark areas.”
The project includes installation of new lighting, circuitry and controls. The light system will be composed of LED fixtures that will reduce energy costs while providing more illumination to common areas throughout the housing development.
Lighting will be installed in parking lots, along walkways, above building entrances and at play and sitting areas. New wall pack fixtures — that provide energy to the lights — will be installed on the facades of all 31 buildings.
As it stands, Ravenswood Houses uses outdated lighting systems that must be manually repaired whenever a lightbulb goes out.
The new system will be more environmentally friendly and require less maintenance.
“We appreciate [Van Bramer’s] ongoing advocacy and true dedication in getting the necessary funding of $4 million to have all new lighting put into Ravenswood Houses, making it safe for all,” said Carol Wilkins, president of the Ravenswood Houses Tenants Association. “As the voice for all the residents, we are so happy that this will become a reality for our community.”
Construction for the lighting project will not begin until work being done on several building facades is complete.
Van Bramer and Olatoye estimated the project would be completed within several years.
In addition, Van Bramer has also secured funding for Ravenswood to get a new basketball court.