By Sadef Ali Kully
Dozens of residents from neighborhoods in Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens, along with Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), called on the City Council and the NYPD last week for a new precinct in southeast Queens.
Richards discussed that issue when he gave the second part of his annual State of the District address Feb. 11 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church at 224-04 147th Ave. in Rosedale. In the address, he updated those communities on progress made over the last year as well as plans for the upcoming year. The first part of his address was held in Far Rockaway.
Richards’ district covers Laurelton, Rosedale, parts of Springfield Gardens, Bayswater, Hammels, Arverne, Edgemere, and Far Rockaway.
During his address, Richards spoke about public funds received to alleviate the constant street flooding in the district, programs to help youth development, bringing solar energy to the area, affordable housing for seniors, transportation, public funds obtained to improve parks and plans to start a new industrial business improvement district in Springfield Gardens.
But his biggest issue in the coming year is creating a new precinct, the 116th Precinct, he said during his address.
“One of the biggest issues our community faces is public safety. Every year it is an important issue for my office, but this year we have made seeing the 116th Precinct coming to fruition our No. 1 priority,” he said.
In 2007, the 105th Precinct opened a satellite location at 242-40 North Conduit Ave., as a base for approximately 40 precinct personnel, responding to calls in the Rosedale and South Springfield Gardens neighborhoods.
According to the NYPD, the 105th Precinct encompasses almost 12.7 square miles, with 354 miles of roadways, including seven major highways, making it geographically the fourth-largest precinct in the city after the 120th, 122nd, and 123rd precincts on Staten Island.
“This is unfair to our communities and it is unfair to the officers who are tasked with protecting our communities,” Donovan said. “We hear talk of the large capital expense this would put on the city, but we have seen additional precincts created in places like Staten Island and I believe southeast Queens deserves the same treatment.”
According to residents and Richards, community members are planning to create a 116th Precinct Task Force comprised of community leaders to bring a new precinct into the area.
Residents said they knew there were only a few officers at the satellite precinct.
“They just need to add more officers and get a little organized—everything else is already there,” said Dwight Johnson, president of the Federated Blocks of Laurelton Association.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull