By Bill Parry
In his State of the District address last week, City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) went back to his old school, PS 122, to map out his commitment to improving education in District 22’s 17 schools. His plan, called the Science 2050 Learning Initiative, will make sure students have the latest technology in their classrooms.
“Astoria’s most valuable asset is our children, the future of our neighborhood,” Constantinides said. “Their classrooms are the keystone of our educational system, and we must make sure our children and teachers have all the tools they need.”
He has allocated $1 million in capital funding each year that he has been in office to provide the “newest and best” technology upgrades, including computers, laptops, printers, and SMART Boards. Such tools will allow children to learn firsthand about 21st-century green technology.
“Our children must be prepared to grapple with the problems that will confront them over the course of this century, and our schools must be equipped to teach this,” Constantinides said. “They will become the leaders that must think creatively and critically to solve the problems of the 21st century and climate change. That’s why we must invest in our children by giving them the tools to win that fight.”
The chairman of the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection also wants to make climate change part of the K-12 curriculum. Constantinides and Borough President Melinda Katz will build or improve science-learning spaces in each school to make the Science 2050 Learning Initiative a reality.
“Hands-on sustainability education and spaces for teachers to make it come to life will ensure 2050 will be secure for my son’s and all our children’s future,” Constantinides said.
He then turned his attention to the “jewel of our neighborhood’s crown—Astoria Park,” with several ideas for the largest green space in the district. Constantinides called for a $15 million comprehensive plan for investment in the park.
“Astoria Park is an integral part of our neighborhood’s heritage,” he said. “And we have a duty to ensure that its beauty and splendor is preserved for the next generation.”
Constantinides is proposing to build a $3 million FIFA regulation-sized soccer field in the center of the park’s running track so players would no longer have to travel to Randall’s Island. He has already discussed the proposal with the city Parks Department.
“A project like this would be dependent on community support and funding,” Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said. “We look forward to discussing the proposal more with the Council member.”
Other investments for Astoria Park include $1.5 million for landscaping and $2.4 million for upgrades to the bathrooms and locker rooms in the Astoria Park pool area.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr