Property Owners Association Continues Tradition Of Fighting For Area
When the Glendale Property Owners Association (GPOA) was born in 1911 as the Glendale Taxpayers Association, records indicate that their biggest topics included improvements to Forest Park and the elimination of stagnant pools of water in vacant lots around the neighborhood.
As the civic group completed its 100th year at their December meeting, its focus was on improvements to The Shops at Atlas Park and other community institutions such as the local library.
One hundred years may have passed and the name may have changed, but the GPOA’s mission seems to remain the same as it was when it was founded: “solving civic problems” and making the neighborhistory hood a better place to live.
With that spirit, the GPOA began 2012 with a meeting last Thursday, Jan. 5, at St. Pancras Pfeifer Hall that celebrated its 100th anniversary and looked forward to another year of service by installing its ranking members and board of directors for duty.
On hand to celebrate their accomplishments were a contingent of local elected officials from all levels of government, including Rep. Bob Turner, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, Assemblyman Mike Miller (who also officiated over the installation of officers) and City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. Each of them provided the GPOA with official citations recognizing the organization’s and achievements and praised the group’s membership for their role in the community.
“Glendale wouldn’t be the neighborhood that it is today without all of your hard work and dedication,” Crowley stated, while also giving credit to those who served the GPOA during previous generations.
According to historical records, the Glendale Taxpayers Association (its name was changed to the Glendale Property Owners Association
–SEE CENTENNIAL ON PG. 62- decades later) held their first meeting on Mar. 9, 1911. It was regarded as the first civic group of its kind in what was then known as “the Glendale section of Greater Ridgewood.”
In its first few years, the organization was credited for bringing about a number of improvements that modernized the neighborhood, including turning Cooper Avenue from a dirt to a paved road, the installation of a sewer beneath Central Avenue and “better transit facilities,” as noted in “The History of Greater Ridgewood” published in 1913.
As the decades went on, the Glendale Taxpayers Association grew into “one of the most active civic associations in Queens,” as cited in “Our Community” published by the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society in 1975. The civic group advocated for the construction of the Cooper Avenue underpass between 74th and 79th streets during the 1930s as well as the 80th Street bridge above the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk branch.
Over the last four decades, the Glendale Taxpayers rebranded themselves into the Glendale Property Owners but continued their mission toward seeking a better quality of life for the neighborhood from improved schools to rezoning of residential and commercial areas.
Among its most influential presidents during this time was the late Vito Maranzano, whose service to the community and involvement in other organizations gained him the unofficial title of “Mayor of Glendale.”
Under Maranzano’s helm, the GPOA fought the spread of graffiti vandalism around the community, additional officers assigned to the 104th Precinct and a renovation of the Glendale Playground, located at the corner of Central Avenue and 70th Street. Maranzano died in 2006, and the park was later renamed in his memory.
Before his death, Maranzano passed the torch to the GPOA’s curproblems. rent president, Brian Dooley. Continuing the tradition of campaigning for a better neighborhood, Dooley and his fellow civic members have tackled a wide variety of issues including a large rezoning of the neighborhood, the redevelopment of Atlas Park and Atlas Terminals and a push to ban hydraulic fracking, a method of gas drilling, in upstate New York.
Also known as hydrofracking, the method involves the injection of toxic chemicals into the earth in order for drillers to tap into vast amounts of natural gas located below the surface. Dooley and other opponents of the method have argued that the chemicals used in the drilling process could spread via runoff to the city’s reservoirs in upstate areas, thus contaminating the water supply.
Dooley thanked all of the civic group’s members for helping to fight for various causes and their support in the years to come.
“Let’s celebrate what we’ve accomplished together and celebrate people being active in the civic,” he said. “I thank you all for being members and for coming out consistently month after month. Without you, we don’t have an organization. Without you, we don’t have any influence over the politicians.”
Along with Dooley, the other GPOA ranking members who were sworn in for another year of duty were First Vice President Robert Kozlowski, Second Vice President Howard Jaeger, Executive Secretary Chris Kurre, Corresponding Secretary Susan Petschauer, Sergeant-atarms Norbert Giesse, Treasurer Clara Sarrocco, Financial Secretary Frieda Koenig, Recording Secretary Margaret Kotnik and Board members Anthony Hund, Donald Desmond and Dori Capace.