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Ridgewood group presses City Council members for more street trees

Photo courtesy of the Landmark Preservation Commission

Hoping to make Ridgewood greener, the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) submitted to the neighborhood’s City Council members formal requests for additional street tree funding.

The requests came in the form of “capital budget street tree lists” that RPOCA members compiled through block-by-block surveys of the neighborhood. In all, the group found more than 3,000 potential locations for street trees, the majority of which are located in Councilman Antonio Reynoso’s district.

The Williamsburg-based lawmaker’s jurisdiction includes the area of Ridgewood generally south and west of Myrtle and Forest avenues. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, based in neighboring Glendale, represents Ridgewood’s eastern half.

But according to former RPOCA President Paul Kerzner, neither of the last two budgets included funding for street trees in the community. Street trees were planted in the area through the city’s MillionTreesNYC public/private partnership initiative.

Kerzner said Reynoso previously told civic members he would secure funding to plant 300 trees in Ridgewood. He hopes the legislator will follow through on his promise, and that Crowley would also make a similar commitment.

To that end, Kerzner said, the RPOCA is urging Ridgewood residents to call or write Crowley and Reynoso informing them of the importance of street trees in beautifying the neighborhood and thank them in advance for their support.

However, sources familiar with the situation stated the city’s Parks Department received a $172,000 allocation from Crowley for street trees in Ridgewood. The Parks Department has already planted 112 trees in the Ridgewood area and plans to plant another 29 this spring.

“We need to make sure Queens remains a beautiful and healthy place for all New Yorkers to live and enjoy. That is why I am proud to have allocated funding for over 125 new street trees in Ridgewood,” Crowley said. “I will continue to work with the community and the Parks Department to ensure we continue to add street trees to our neighborhoods.”

This is the latest effort in the RPOCA’s ongoing campaign of adding more green to the community’s streetscapes.

“In 1971, less than 5 percent of the streets were tree-lined,” Kerzner recalled. “Forty-four years later, about 70 percent are now tree-lined, and some years, we don’t get any new trees. In other years, we get about a couple of hundred. We’re making steady progress.”

Kerzner, who himself participated in the RPOCA street tree survey, thanked other RPOCA members for their participation, including President Charles Ober, Peter Comber, Domingo Santos, Luis Rodriguez, John Maier, Carlos Ortiz, Simon Orr and Maryellen Borello.

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