Community Board 7 members on Monday night voted unanimously in favor of honoring late College Point civic leader Joe Femenia with a street co-naming for his activism and dedication to the community.
The College Point community mourned Femenia’s death on Jan. 30. He passed away at the age of 62 after suffering a heart attack in his home.
“This was a difficult one for us in the board for our committee because we never thought we would be voting for a fellow member that we had the pleasure of working with,” said Nick Carrado, chair of the Transportation Committee.
Femenia served as president of the College Point Civic Taxpayer’s Association from 2008 to 2012 and again in 2014 to the present. He was also a Community Board 7 member and chairperson of the Transportation Committee from 2006 to 2016.
Less than a month after Femenia’s passing, Councilman Paul Vallone proposed a College Point street renaming in honor of Femenia at the intersection of 23rd Avenue and 130th Street. The co-naming ceremony will likely be set for late this summer.
Femenia’s wife, Laura, thanked CB 7 and the College Point community for their support in honoring and remembering the civic leader with the street sign, Joseph Femenia Way.
“Joe was amazing — a member of CB 7, president of the College Point Civic Taxpayer’s Association, a photographer, animal lover and so much more. One of his most important priorities was his love and devotion to our community,” said Laura Femenia. “He attended hundreds of meetings and spent thousands of hours communicating with all of the elected officials, city departments agencies on behalf of the civic and citizens of College Point. It goes without saying Joe made College Point a better place to live and work. I know the vote to honor my husband by renaming 23rd Avenue and 130th Street ‘Joe Femenia Way’ would be a great remembrance to his dedication to improve the College Point community.”
Board Chair Eugene Kelty said, “It was well deserved. It’s nice when we can do something very special for a person that has given back to the community tenfold.”
Later that night, CB 7 also approved the removal of a handball court adjacent to P.S. 22 in Flushing, which doesn’t have a playground and will be redeveloped into an official playground for the school by the Parks Department.
“Part of the area is under jurisdiction of the Department of Education, while a larger part of the area is under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department,” said Arlene Fleishman, chair of the Education Department. “The issue before CB 7 is the removal of the handball court that is on Parks Department property and sits in the center of the project. It is proven to be a safety hazard as numerous children are running into it and the entire community approved removal of this wall.”
The handball court will be replaced with a basketball court, which is apart of the total design and redevelopment of the playground, said Fleishman. The playground will house play equipment for fitness, exercise and recreation as well as an outdoor classroom with proper drainage and extra seating.
The project is being funded through Councilman Peter Koo’s office and has been approved by the principal of P.S. 22, the parent association, the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association and Parks Department.