By Bob Harris
Patricia Dolan, president of the Queens Civic Congress and the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, died on Hillside Avenue after a car struck her as she walked to a Community Board 8 Transportation Committee meeting.
This column has often mentioned the activities she and the QCC were involved in to maintain and improve the quality of life in Queens.
Pat was one of many civic leaders who devoted their time and effort to matters of concern to homeowners and tenants. People who memorialized her were civic leaders like Jim Gallagher Jr. of Fresh Meadows; former Flushing North Civic Association head John Liu of Flushing; Richard Hellenbrecht of Bellerose, who succeeded to the presidency of the QCC; Paul Graziano of Flushing; Alfred Klein of the KGHCA; former Flushing civic leader Rory Lancman; and Borough President Helen Marshall.
On Oct. 27, 1991, Pat was on the stationery of the Federation of Civic Councils of the Borough of Queens’ luncheon convention. The federation and the six civic councils were the predecessors of the QCC. There were legendary civic leaders such as Al Greenblatt, Yolanda and John Norris, Julia Jerry, Emma Eberlin, Mary Parella, Rose Daddario, Jim Trent, Rick Cannon, Phil Plasencia, Sean Walsh, Shirley Weinstein, Camille Rye, Richard Hines and Tami Hirsh. They were all leaders of their civics and volunteers in their communities, but Pat rose to be president of the QCC.
Another group Pat was a member of was the Senior Citizens Advisory Council of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It was important for her to be involved because she was director of Queens Connection for the Queens Community House and Access-A-Ride was one way her clients could get around the city. For the past year she worked hard to alleviate the hardships imposed on some seniors when their Access-A-Ride rights were cut by the city.
An idea of what Pat and the QCC does could be gleamed from reading the November 2011 Queens Civic Congressional. Although David Kulick is the editor, Pat wrote many of the articles. The front page told of a QCC meeting on the environment and future meetings which Pat and the officers had planned.
Her last letter, on Page 2 of this paper, told of the success of the past year ranging from a transportation forum, a debate between state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) and U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Kew Gardens) for Anthony Weiner’s seat and an economic round table about economic issues in Queens.
She wrote of plans for a boroughwide civic conference for 2012 and the work of the QCC Foundation in sponsoring the conference. A large story told of concern about a private group getting land at the Creedmoor campus to build a small Indian cultural center now wanting to obtain more land for free and build two nine-story buildings adjacent to a low-density community.
Another article described Pat’s concern about the use of hydrofracking in upstate New York near our water sources. This technique releases natural gas from the shale in the ground but uses strong chemicals which move around and have been poisoning people and livestock in Pennsylvania, where it has been used. Her local councilman, James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), has been concerned about this type of pollution.
Some of Pat’s other concerns in the congress have been a five-borough blueprint for transportation and the cut in the city Parks Department’s forestry budget for tree planting to replace trees lost during the recent tornado and hurricane.
There was a story with photos of the city’s plans to invite national and worldwide research universities to build one or more applied science facilities in the city. The QCC has had speakers who spoke about this.
Unfortunately, no site was mentioned for Queens. Jim Trent, of the Creedmoor Civic Association, suggested the vacant land and low buildings on the Creedmoor campus as a site for a research facility. Some people want to use Willets Point for this purpose. I always balked at using Willets Point for this.
The issues which concerned Patricia Dolan concern us all. The civic leaders of Queens will continue fighting for our quality of life.