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By Bill Parry

Joseph Conley announced he is stepping down as chairman of Community Board 2 after 23 years of volunteer service. He told a larger-than-usual crowd at the board’s monthly meeting, at Sunnyside Community Services Thursday that it was time to make way for new leadership.

“Looking at the time served, 23 years as chair has been a good run,” Conley said. “We collectively accomplished a lot, a lot of great things.”

Conley shepherded CB2, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Maspeth, through a period of unprecedented growth in the borough. His leadership is credited with helping the transformation of Long Island City from a gritty industrial neighborhood to the so-called “gateway to Queens” with its booming residential high-rise developments.

“Joe Conley has distinguished himself through his outstanding service as chairman of Community Board 2 for more than two decades,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “His steady hand has helped guide the growth of New York City’s fastest growing and most dynamic communities. On behalf of the 2.3 million residents of the borough of Queens, I thank Joe for his many years of service on behalf of the common good.”

Conley, 67, grew emotional toward the end of his remarks to the people of CBm2. “I have made lifelong friends in this room, people that shared my life,” he said, choking back tears as the crowd rose to its feet in a standing ovation.

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