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Shannon Gaels moves forward on College Point field

By Madina Toure

The Queens-based Shannon Gaels Gaelic Football Club’s plans to upgrade its field in College Point is moving swiftly, the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association announced at its monthly meeting late last month.

“They’re very well-organized. They’re all over Queens right now, so they looked for a park where they could build their fields and make it a home,” said Diane Kovach, co-chair of the Land Use and Zoning Committee for the association. “They’ve been playing on there for several years now and except for — occasionally there’s some traffic issues — they really haven’t been a disturbance in the area.”

Community Board 7 approved the plans as they were presented to the board but did not approve the overall plan as they do not have all the city Parks Department permits and the plans could change, she said. The first phase of construction, already funded and ready to go, will be a smaller training field with an artificial surface with fencing around it and planted trees. The second phase is a full-size Gallic soccer field with stadium-sized LED lights. The third phase will be a parking lot for about 40 cars which people can enter off 14th Road, which will be locked at night and have a porous surface to deter skateboarders.

Established in 2002, the Shannon Gaels received a patch of grass on which to train in Frank Golden Park in 2009. In April, the club signed a 15-year lease with the Parks Department for 7 acres of the park. They then started a fund-raising campaign to turn those acres into a new faciltiy in July.

Also discussed at the monthly meeting at the Poppenhusen Institute Nov. 20, were capital budget funding, better bus service, senior housing and the College Point Corporate Park.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz made an appearance, encouraging residents to submit applications for capital funding when her office starts accepting them in March. She suggested that people submit applications based on issues relevant to them, such as education.

“Your child or grandchild’s school that needs a new auditorium, needs a new playground, needs computers,” Katz said, citing possible suggestions. “Computers haven’t been updated in five years, seven years. That’s a long time for computers.”

She added that her office is working on airplane noise, the reconstruction of 20th Avenue from 127th Street to the Whitestone Expressway and flooding on 15th avenue between 119th and 120th Streets.

Vito Tautonico, director of constituent services for City Councilman Paul Vallone’s (D-Bayside) office, said the city Economic Development Corporation, elected officials and members of the civic association and Community Board 7 have discussed plans that would allow businesses that are required to pay into an improvement fund to determine how the money is used.

“We’re in the process of hopefully setting up some kind of system where the business owners, the people that they’ve bled everything into their business, will get the opportunity to say where to put that money,” Tautonico said.

He also criticized what he described as a lack of transparency and cooperation from the city Department of Transportation concerning roads that need to be reconstructed in the neighborhood.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour‌e@cng‌local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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