City Councilman Peter Koo on Wednesday announced $20 million in budget victories that will be used to improve libraries, playgrounds, schools, cultural institutions and organizations in Flushing.
Koo, who represents Council District 20, secured the funding from the Fiscal Year 2020 budget for new capital and expense projects in partnership with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, the Queens Council delegation, and the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
Securing the critical resources for the community will directly improve many neighborhood amenities and the overall quality-of-life in the district, said Koo.
“This year, I fought for new capital and programming funding for our libraries, schools, parks, and other critical infrastructure, and I am especially proud that I was able to work closely with the Speaker, the Borough President and my colleagues in the Council to direct this funding to important improvements right here in Flushing,” said Koo.
One of those important improvements to Koo is upgrading multiple libraries throughout Flushing, which he was able to secure $2.7 million.
“Modern libraries provide so much more than simple book borrowing so that they act as hyperlocal community centers for each of our neighborhoods,” said Koo. “It is important that we support, maintain and expand these critical community institutions.”
Visitors will be able to relax at a new Cooling Center at the Main Street Flushing Library and Mitchell-Linden Library, located at 31-32 Union St., will be expanded and undergo exterior upgrades. A new roof will be installed at McGoldrick Library, located at 155-06 Roosevelt Ave.
As the newly appointed Chair of the NYC Council Committee on Parks and Recreation, Koo secured $5.5 million for a full renovation of Bland Playground, located in the heart of downtown Flushing on 40th Road and Prince Street. The playground is a popular location for youth basketball and handball, but the playground equipment is in need of upgrades to better serve families with young children in the community.
Other highlights from this year’s budget include new technology and playground upgrades coming to area schools, lighting and security cameras for NYCHA residents, restoration of historical landmarks in Flushing, and funding for 87 organizations in the community.
As in previous years, some of Koo’s largest funding allocations went to capital improvements for schools in his council district, totaling $2.2 million for Fiscal Year 2020. This year, there will be technology upgrades at PS 20, PS 120, PS 162, PS 214, PS 242, PS 244 and Queens High School for Language Studies. Other improvments include security cameras for PS 22, supplemental cooling in PS 24, auditorium upgrades in PS 16, playground upgrades at PS 177, HVAC upgrades at JHS 189, Flushing International High School, IS 237 and East/West School, auditorium upgrades at Flushing High School and Veritas Academy, athletic field upgrades at Francis Lewis High School, and bathroom upgrades at Queens Academy High School.
A total of $300,000 in funding will be used for new LED lighting at NYCHA Bland Houses to improve the safety and quality-of-life at night for residents and pedestrians. Additionally, Koo secured $200,000 for the CCTV system at NYCHA’s Latimer Gardens Senior Center.
Over $4 million will be used for historical landmarks in Flushing. The basement of the Queens Historical Society, located in the landmarked Kingsland Homestead, will undergo a $1.7 million restoration. Also, $1.3 million in capital funding will go toward the renovations at the historic landmarked Bowne House. The Flushing Council and Culture and the Arts, which is based in the landmarked Flushing Town Hall, will receive $1.2 million.
Lastly, from his personal discretionary funding, Koo secured $710,000 in non-profit expense funding for 87 community-based organizations to continue providing important services to the Flushing community, including the Korean American Family Service Center, New York Asian Women’s Center, Flushing Jewish Community Council, South Asian Council for Social Services, Guardians of Flushing Bay, and more.