Budget was the business at the RHBA

Despite bad news about MTA cuts and the economy, the Richmond Hill Block Association (RHBA) nonetheless delivered a bit of good news at its most recent meeting – Caroline Eckert, the 72-year-old who has been sweeping the streets and battling litter along Jamaica Avenue for 50 years – will be honored as New York 1’s “New Yorker of the Week.”
After a round of applause, it was down to business.
Many in the community are concerned about the potential loss of the Q56 bus along Jamaica Avenue.
“Without the Q56, those seniors that normally ride the bus will have to walk to the nearest ‘J’ train stop and climb the stairs,” wrote Paul Bankert, RHBA Vice President, in the newsletter. “Do not sit idly by while you are asked to pay more for less service. Please call, write or email all of your local legislators and tell them that they are cutting off a lifeline that cannot be severed.”
The next item of business was Engine 293 in Woodhaven.
An erroneous – and unfounded – report claimed that the doors of 293 would be shuttered, which had members of the RHBA up in arms.
The Fire Department vehemently denied all rumors and a published report of the closure of Engine 293.
With many politicians – or their representatives – in attendance, City Councilmember Eric Ulrich told the audience that the council is negotiating proposed Mayoral budget cuts to CUNY at City Hall.
“CUNY plays an invaluable role in opening doors,” said Ulrich. “It’s not an investment in now – it’s an investment in the future.”
He also mentioned that the preliminary budget would have eliminated 1,000 police officers and 1,000 caseworkers with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).
“The ax has to fall on somebody,” he said, “but it shouldn’t fall on the most vulnerable population.”
Ulrich, did, however, concede that, “We have to close the budget deficit and try to do more with less.”
Jeff Gottlieb, a representative for Senator Joseph Addabbo, said that by 2010 “we have a very good chance of getting optical scan [voting] machines.” When that happens, workers will have to be retrained, he said.
There will be a hearing in September.
In other news, it was announced that 109th Street and 86th Avenue may be renamed in honor of Nancy Cataldi of the Richmond Hill Historical Society, who passed away recently.
The RHBA guest speaker was the new manager of Forest Park, Rene Herrera.
With the Department of Parks & Recreation for 21 years, he said, “Our mission is to provide a safe, clean environment.”
Wendy Bowne, President of the RHBA, said Herrera has been effective already, cleaning up graffiti, etc.
The next meeting of the RHBA will be on Wednesday, May 27 at 8 p.m.
Additionally, they will be hosting their second annual “Pet Adoption Day” on Saturday, June 13 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Forest Park Buddy Monument.
Call the RHBA for more information at 718-849-3759.

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