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Flushing Bay, river focus of cleanup push

Peter Koo announces Flushing Waterways Community Visioning Workshop set to take place on June 23 at Queens Museum.
Photo Courtesy Peter Koo
By Gina Martinez

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) has been joined by environmental advocacy groups to announce “All Hands on Deck!”— a Flushing Waterways Community Visioning Workshop coming to Queens Museum this week.

The workshop seeks to create a cohesive community vision for the polluted Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay. New York state is currently considering a long-term control plan to manage combined sewage overflows and, according to Koo, now is an opportune time to engage stakeholders in imagining and designing a future that provides greater opportunities for restoration, remediation, resilience and recreation on Flushing’s waterways.

He asked that anyone invested in the future of Flushing attend the visioning workshop, saying that Flushing Creek and the bay are a part of the very foundation on which we live.

“Flushing’s waterfronts store a world of potential, but that promise goes unrealized every time it rains,” he said. “Raw sewage overflows directly into the waterways, creating a toxicity that is bad for our environment and our quality of life. The city must take a stronger stance on cleaning up Flushing’s waterways, so we’re asking for our community to get involved. If the Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay are not healthy, then our community is not healthy. Our health, and our children’s health, depend on a clean environment.”

Sean Dixon, staff Attorney at Riverkeeper, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of the Hudson River and its tributaries, said the workshop will be a great opportunity to decide the future of the waterway.

“Flushing Bay and Flushing Creek are two of the most historic waterways of New York City, hosting two World Fairs and decades of commitment to providing open space to our communities,” he said. “Unfortunately, over time, the Flushing Waterways have fallen behind the times – with pollution and neglect – presenting our community with a vital opportunity to help shape the vision of how we want our waterways to be rebuilt and re-engaged in the decades to come.”

Korin Tangtrakul, coordinator at Guardians of Flushing Bay, said the organization is thrilled to have this opportunity to bring its voices together to envision a clean and healthy Flushing Bay.

“As active users of the waterway, we’ve been fighting for pollution reduction and remediation of Flushing Bay, and this visioning process brings our fight to the forefront,” she said.

Anyone interested in attending can RSVP at allhandsondeckflushingwaterways.eventbrite.com, the event begins at 6 p.m. Friday, June 23, at the Queens Museum.

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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