Mayor Eric Adams joined southeast Queens community members and elected officials on Monday, Aug. 22, for a “topping-off” ceremony at the future 116th Precinct in Rosedale, as the final beam was placed atop the structure marking a milestone in the construction phase of the $104 million project.
Borough President Donovan Richards and City Council member Selvena Brooks-Powers, along with Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, members of the 116th Precinct Task Force, and the city Department of Design and Construction (DDC), were in attendance for the ceremony held at the 105th Precinct’s satellite office, located at 242 N. Conduit Ave., which will soon become the 116th Precinct.
According to Adams, constructing the 116th Precinct is an investment in public safety and justice in southeast Queens.
“The homeowners and everyday people who live here want to be safe. They want quality policing, and they want to make sure that the men and women who are providing that safety have a location that is state-of-the-art to make sure that they can carry out their jobs,” Adams said. “I know what it was like to be in a precinct that was dilapidated, falling apart, didn’t have the basic necessities that our police officers deserved, and that is not going to happen here.”
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) August 22, 2022
DDC Commissioner Tom Foley said the project remains “on time and on budget” and is expected to be completed in 2024.
The new 33,000-square-foot precinct will include community space. It will serve the neighborhoods of Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Brookville, Laurelton and the southern portion of Cambria Heights.
The precinct will help to alleviate existing strains on the overburdened 105th Precinct that covers more than 350 lane miles of roadway in east and southeast Queens.
The 105th Precinct posed consistent challenges to fully serving neighborhoods in the southern half of its jurisdiction, according to lawmakers. This resulted in long-standing disparities, slowed response times and decreased safety of families in the district.
The ceremony comes after more than four decades of tireless advocacy by community members, who have pushed for a new precinct for generations.
In Sept. 2021, community members joined former Mayor Bill de Blasio for a groundbreaking ceremony on the long-awaited precinct and community center.
The project was approved by Community Board 13 in October 2018. According to Bess DeBethem, the board had requested a new precinct every year in its budget, while some people wanted to remove it completely.
“Today, when I look around, I really feel like shedding tears of joy because it is something that we requested — not something that we wanted but something that is necessary,” DeBethem said. “A new precinct was, and is necessary, to reduce response time from the 105th [Precinct] and in today’s environment, reduce crime.”
For Robert Glover, president of the Federated Blocks of Laurelton, it was a great day seeing their hard work and dedication to bring a new precinct to the community come to fruition.
Southeast Queens lawmakers thanked the DDC for their hard work, and the 116th Precinct Task Force for spearheading a coalition to improve public safety and quality-of-life in the southeast Queens neighborhoods.
“We have worked so long to make sure that this happens, that we deserve the best in southeast Queens and we deserve a precinct in such a space,” Vanel said. “We’re really excited to have a world-class space that includes a community space, and we can’t wait to see the completion of it.”
According to Brooks-Powers, the establishment of the 116th Precinct station in Rosedale will keep communities across eastern Queens safer, and police forces will be better equipped to promptly address emergencies and promote public safety.
“Southeast Queens, like many other communities, has been plagued by violence. For too long, amid rising gun violence and drug use, the social fabric of our community was left to pray,” Brooks-Powers said. “The city neglected to protect its citizens. It’s true that New York has come a long way in recent decades, but in southeast Queens, each week seems to bring news of another shooting, another precious soul taken from us in a senseless act. The officers in the 105th Precinct work hard to protect us, but in our city, the fifth largest precinct with years of underinvestment, have resulted in slow response times — a traffic jam that can make a difference between life and death.”
Meanwhile, Richards said the precinct and community space will “forge a stronger and healthier relationship between police officers and the neighborhoods they serve.”
“We know that in southeast Queens there is no contradiction in asking for safe streets and also police reform at the same time. We will never sacrifice pushing the department to do better and what you see behind is what 21st-century policing will look like,” Richards said.
NYPD Deputy Chief Kevin Williams, of Patrol Borough Queens South, said the topping-off ceremony brings them one step closer to opening the precinct, and that he looks forward to walking through the precinct’s doors in 2024.