A Worthy Investment

At first blush, the city’s plan to invest $65 million on the expansion of the Queens Museum of Art may appear hard to justify. The groundbreaking for the cultural museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park took place at the same time the city is talking about laying off teachers.

Nevertheless, the mayor is right to go ahead with the expansion. The project will be completed in 2013 and allow the museum to take its collection of art out of storage and put it on display in the extra exhibition space.

If nothing else, the museum gives Queens residents a place to experience great art without going to Manhattan. The renovation will also create hundreds of jobs for construction workers. The new site will include gallery space, classrooms, public event spaces, a cafe and a museum shop.

Borough President Helen Marshall said the new museum is going to be “absolutely spectacular.” And City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, chairman of the Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, said the museum was the first he ever visited as a child.

Given the tough financial times, it took courage to go forward with the groundbreaking for this expansion. We are convinced this is for the best. The city must continue to build for the future.

Jamaica High on Life Support

There seems to be little hope that new city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott will reverse the city Department of Education’s plan to close Jamaica HS. This closure is a key part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s education agenda and Walcott supported that agenda as a deputy mayor.

The decision to close the school was made without consulting the community or borough elected officials. Although he has Queens roots and experience in the public education system, Walcott was appointed to carry out a mayoral policy that says it is better to shut down failing schools than find resources to get them back on track.

We are asking you, Mr. Walcott, to spend more time listening to people in the outer boroughs who resent school closings.

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