By Juan Soto
This open house included hotdogs and burgers, but the house was not for sale.
It was City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) opening his district office, at 172-12 Linden Blvd. in St. Albans, to the community.
About 125 people shared their Saturday afternoon with the lawmaker in an attempt “to bring them together and talk about the issues that affect them.”
Miller said it was a chance for parents to meet, among others, with the principals at the schools of their children, with community affairs police officers and representatives from nonprofits.
“Some parents met the principal that spend so much time with their kids in schools,” said the lawmaker.
“It was a kind of meet-and-greet situation,” added Miller, who pointed out this was the first open house he held since moving this past winter to his current office district. “Since we did not do this when we first moved here back in February, we had to do it now.”
“It was a good turnout,” said the councilman, adding that it was also a chance for “people with the same interests needed to know each other.”
Miller inaugurated the open house after helping a group of young men clean several streets adjacent to the St. Albans Long Island Rail Road station.
“These kids are committed to clean up the community, so I think it’s a good idea that we helped them out,” said Miller, adding that the city Sanitation Department provided them with “the tools, like gloves, sweepers and bags” to maintain their neighborhood cleaner.
Originally the idea was to have the open house from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., but the “party” went little over four hours.
At the open house, residents exchanged views about their needs for the community, and the issues that affected them on a day-to-day basis.
During the “informal” gathering, constituents asked Miller about their concerns when it comes to housing, jobs, capital projects and the always-present flooding problems.
“And a lot of residents asked about the participatory budget process,” said the councilman, referring to the program that gives constituents decision-making power over how to spend their tax dollars works.
In the current budget, Miller will allocate $1 million for the participatory budget process. The lawmaker said that residents in the district, which includes Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens and Cambria Heights, proposed, for example, a $150,000 library technology update and a $150,000 computer lab for a public school.
“We have to make this their home,” said Miller.
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.