The New York City Council adopted the $98.7 billion fiscal year 2022 budget on Wednesday, June 30. Within the budget, Councilman Peter Koo secured $39.05 million for schools, parks, cultural institutions, and social service organizations in Council District 20.
Koo, who represents Flushing, Mitchell-Linden and Queensboro Hill, as well as parts of Whitestone and Fresh Meadows, said this year’s budget will help New Yorkers get back on their feet following the “worst pandemic of our generation.”
“This year’s funding will go straight to the people and organizations who put in overtime during the pandemic, delivering meals to homebound seniors, providing online programming and counseling, and increasing access to healthcare for those in need,” Koo said. “In addition, this year’s FY 22 funding will go toward needed community amenities like improvements to our local parks and playgrounds, resources for every school, and renovations to our local libraries and cultural institutions.”
Highlights for this year include:
Francis Lewis High School track and athletic fields
A total of $10 million has been allocated to completely renovate the Francis Lewis High School track and athletic field. The track has long suffered from worn and uneven surfaces that create hazardous conditions for athletes. Funding will go toward a reconstruction of the track and athletic field so that youth athletes have safe and modernized facilities to compete.
Parks and Playgrounds
Captain Mario Fajardo Playground: $2.4 million in conjunction with Speaker Johnson will go toward Kissena Park’s Mario Fajardo Playground Phase II renovations. This is in conjunction with $3.2 million from last year’s budget for a complete playground renovation. This will be the first capital construction project for the playground in 20 years.
Weeping Beech Park: The park will receive $3.5 million in funding secured by Koo and the mayor’s office to fully renovate the multipurpose play area, basketball courts and playground.
Kissena Park Velodrome: In conjunction with the mayor’s office, Koo secured a total of $2.5 million that will go toward a renovation of the park’s famous bicycle track in order to make it safer for riders. The last renovation to the velodrome was completed in 2004.
Green space improvements on College Point Boulevard: A total of $950,000 in funding will go toward Kissena Corridor Park to beautify the green space adjacent to Queens Botanical Garden on College Point Boulevard and Blossom Avenue. This is a joint project in conjunction with Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Botanical Garden, and Bao Kang Adult Day Care, who will implement senior programming on the site for upkeep and maintenance. Refurbishments will include paving the existing desired pathway and installing lighting.
A total of $2 million will go to two libraries in Council District 20. This new funding will be used for resiliency efforts at Queensboro Hill Library and renovations at Mitchell-Linden Library.
Funding for Schools
Each year, Koo’s first budgetary phone calls are to Council District 20 schools to make sure they have the resources they need to succeed. Once again, every school has been funded with capital funding, making up a large portion of this year’s allocations, totaling $14.896 million for FY22.
This year’s school capital funding includes technology upgrades in P.S. 20, P.S. 162, P.S. 242, P.S. 244, Queens Academy High School, Queens High School for Language Studies, and Veritas Academy. Other improvements include funding for auditorium and gym upgrades at P.S. 24, P.S. 120, P.S. 163, P.S. 177, P.S. 214, and Flushing International High School. P.S. 22 will also receive a $500,000 allocation for security cameras. Over the past 12 years, Koo has secured more than $50 million for schools in his district.
From his personal discretionary funding, Koo has provided $710,000 in nonprofit expense funding for 99 programs across 85 different community-based organizations, including the South Asian Council for Social Services, Korean American Family Service Center, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, and more. The funding will go toward various programs and services such as after-school programs, domestic violence counseling, senior transportation through Selfhelp Community Services, graffiti removal, arts and cultural programs and more.
AAPI Community Support Funding
In addition to his personal allocations to local Asian American Pacific Island (AAPI) community groups for initiatives like direct services, legal assistance, and language access, Koo lauded a new $4 million influx of citywide funding that will go to support the AAPI community.
“Our community fought hard for a tangible solution to the devastating impact of the pandemic and rise in Asian hate crimes. This new funding is a great first step that I hope will become a permanent commitment to addressing the systemic disparities that exist in our community,” Koo said.