By Mark Hallum
When Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his executive budget this week, it included a major victory for Councilmen Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens)—$70 million allocated to fund a new police precinct to relieve the overburdened 105th Precinct.
The 105th is the fourth largest precinct in the city, with 188,000 people living within its boundaries. It stretches from Glen Oaks and North Shore Towers in the north to Kennedy Airport through Queens Village and Laurelton. It is also known to have the slowest 911 response times in comparison to its neighboring precincts in eastern Queens.
A 24-hour satellite of the 105th was established in 2007 at 242-40 North Conduit Ave. to alleviate these issues, and it received an expansion in March. But the need for a fully serviced, stand-alone 116th Precinct has nott escaped the attention of the Queens lawmakers.
“For nearly four decades, residents of Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens have been calling for the 116th Precinct and the city has finally delivered in 2016,” Richards said. “Since I became the Council member for District 31 in 2013, the creation of a new precinct has been one of the loftiest goals I have set my sights on. This $70 million investment is a tremendous victory for eastern Queens communities, as well as the dedicated officers of the 105th Precinct.”
According to Jennifer Greer, a spokeswoman for Barry Grodenchik, there is no location for the new precinct yet. A statement from the mayor indicates that Laurelton, Rosedale, Brookville and Springfield Gardens will be the geographic focus of the 116th.
“We will work with the community and the NYPD to find the ideal location for the new precinct as soon as possible,” de Blasio said.
“The creation of the new 116th Precinct is a watershed moment,” Grodenchik said. “This new precinct is the culmination of 40 years of community and political activism. I also congratulate my colleague Donovan Richards, who fought for this new precinct from his first day in office. Working together, Council member Richards and I have secured an enormous victory for our constituents.”
$1.5 million will be allocated to improve infrastructure throughout Queens as per a statement issued by Borough President Melinda Katz.
“The mayor’s investment toward the creation of a new 116th Precinct is especially welcome news,” Katz said. “The size of the existing 105th Precinct, which covers nearly 13 square miles and has its stationhouse on the northern end of the vertically long territory, has posed significant geographical challenges that make it difficult to fully serve neighborhoods in the southern half of its jurisdiction.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall