Ten months after the city pulled the plug on a new 116th Precinct in Southeast Queens, Mayor de Blasio said he wants to bring back what residents have been fighting to get built since the Ed Koch administration.
“I can announce today that we are fully funding the new 116th Precinct and a new community center,” de Blasio said Tuesday during a press conference largely devoted to combating crime and gun violence through police-community partnerships.
A $92 million precinct was approved and budgeted for back in 2017. It was to be located just to the north of the Long Island Rail Road’s Rosedale station. It also was placed adjacent to the existing satellite station of the 105th Precinct.
The 116th will be cut from the southern end of the 105th, which stretches north to Bellerose and has its headquarters in Queens Village.
The satellite station was built to shorten response times in the southern end of a precinct that runs more than eight miles from north to south and has more than 350 miles of roadways. Residents in the southern end of the precinct long have been concerned about response times in the event of major emergencies.
The money was removed just before the budget deadline last June as the City Council defunded the NYPD’s operating and capital budgets by more than $1.5 billion. The $92 million in capital money was reallocated for a community center in Roy Wilkins Park in St. Albans.
The city had even substantially completed the design process.
But the new precinct, aside from its full complement of officers, detectives and staff, also is expected to have a community room, a pedestrian plaza and a food pantry.
“We thank the Mayor for taking this very timely and critical action that will fill the void in police protection for the communities of Southeast and Northeast Queens and help stem the tide of rising crime,” said Bess DeBetham, co-president of the 116th Precinct Community Task Force, in a statement emailed to the Chronicle.
Co-president Richard Hellenbrecht thanked the many elected officials who have supported their fight over the years.
Members of the 116th Precinct Community Task Force, many of whom go back to its origins, were praised by U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) and Borough President Donovan Richards.
“This began back in 1977,” Meeks told de Blasio. The congressman thanked DeBetham, Hellenbrecht and others for their perseverance over the years.
“They stayed the course,” he said.
“Too often I’ve seen issues in Southeast Queens,” said NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, a Jamaica native. “This is a step in the right direction.”
Richards said the precinct, when completed with all its community-based features, will be a model for fostering police-community relations.
“This is where we need to go with policing in the 21st century,” said Richards, who is running for re-election “And we are moving in that direction.”