City can’t afford new leader for southeast Queens parks

By Howard Koplowitz

Ironically, 10 of the applications were disqualified because they came from people who lived outside of the city – a charge that was leveled against Martino Fisher, according to CB 13 Chairman Richard Hellenbrecht.He said a number of other submissions came from department or retail store employees who apparently believed the job entailed running a store.”So many of them are from Walgreen's and Strauss stores,” he said.In other business, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski told CB 13 at its monthly meeting Monday that the agency's budget is too tight to hire a parks administrator for southeast Queens.She was responding to a concern from Peter Richards, the chair of CB 13's Parks Committee, who brought up the issue at the board's meeting Monday at St. Luke's Church in Rosedale.”Currently, we don't have the funding for it,” Lewandowski said. “In the absence of that, we've done a lot of programming and capital improvements” in southeast Queens, she said, referring to concert series, puppet shows and boating outings.Lewandowski said the larger parks in Queens, such as Flushing Meadows, Alley Pond and Fort Totten, have administrators.She also updated the board on capital projects for eastern Queens parks, including tennis, basketball and handball courts for Brookville Park and a $1.6 million cricket field for Idlewild Park being funded through Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.The cricket field is in the design stage, Lewandowski said, and that construction was expected to start by the end of the year.Summer kayaking programs are set for Thurston Basin by Jamaica Bay, she said, and a comfort station in the Laurelton Playground should open by the end of the year.The park house at the Bellerose Playground at PS 133 has been closed for 15 years, Lewandowski said, but Parks is requesting $150,000 for new plumbing, electric, water and other renovations so it can open soon.The board also tabled a separate discussion on the so-called “zero-tolerance policy” for merchants who sell items on racks within 3 feet of their business.The board said it wanted more time to consult with local development corporations within CB 13's boundaries before taking a position on whether to allow merchants to sell their wares outside their stores.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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