During Helen Marshall’s annual address on the state of Queens, the borough president exalted the borough’s successful projects — past, present and future.
“I am so glad that we have gathered here today to celebrate our progress and set the course for the year ahead,” said Marshall to open her 11th State of the Borough address.
Marshall was introduced to the hundreds of elected officials, community leaders and residents on-hand at Queens College’s Colden Center by Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
“We are so incredibly lucky to have Helen as our Queens borough president,” Quinn said. “This is a woman who dedicated her life to this city, life to this borough and we are all better for it.”
Since entering office, Marshall has allocated over half a billion dollars to improving the borough more than 2.2 million New Yorkers call home.
“I have worked hard to put our borough on a firm footing for future generations,” Marshall said during the speech at her alma mater.
Among the successfully completed projects the borough president touched on were the Aqueduct Racino — which received some of the loudest cheers during the 90-minute speech — new and renovated parks in Jamaica, Middle Village, Sunnyside and Elmhurst, four new schools opening and preventing Peninsula Hospital from closing.
When mentioning the planned largest convention center in America on the site of Aqueduct, Marshall made clear that it was in complement to the Willets Point center, not in place of it.
Though Marshall extolled the positives throughout the borough, she recognized there are still battles to be fought.
As the most ethnically diverse county in the nation — “As I always say, visit Queens and see the world,” she said — thousands of new residents from around the globe are making the borough home each year.
“Queens is a victim of its own success,” she said. “Our county attracts new residents and immigrants every year — but not the federal aid needed to build local schools and hospitals to care for them. And then to add insult to injury, we will lose existing aid and representation in Washington because we were undercounted in the census.”
The influx of new residents also leads to overcrowded schools, something the borough president is continuing to work on.
Marshall, who is in her third year of her third term, extolled the burgeoning borough’s plenitude of projects that have broken ground in the past year or are shovel ready, including: Willets Point, Hunters Point, Hallets Point, the new JetBlue headquarters in Long Island City, an expansion of Mount Sinai Queens, and the Cornell applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island.
“We want to learn from yesterday, have hope for today and build a better future for our children,” Marshall said to conclude her address.
Some other highlights of the speech included:
• Saving senior centers from closure, along with the opening of new centers.
• The continued development of L.I.C, downtown Flushing and downtown Jamaica.
• Securing the continued funding of the State Foreclosure Prevention Services Program
• The renovation and planned renovation of the Jamaica, Elmhurst, Hunters Point and Kew Gardens libraries.
• Preserving historical Queens with money allocated to restore the Poppenhusen Institute, Kingland Homestead, Rufus King Manor, Latimer House, Louis Armstrong House and Bowne House.