BY TRONE DOWD
A civic-minded youngster convinced Mayor Bill de Blasio during a town hall meeting this week in Jamaica to announce nearly $10 million in funding for one of Southeast Queens’ most popular parks before the mayor’s office was ready to go public with it.
An 8-year-old named Elena from PS 108Q in Ozone Park asked de Blasio about the conditions of her favorite park, Baisley Pond Park, and what he could do to improve it for the community. Maximizing her time, the young girl managed to squeeze in a second question, breaking one of the town hall’s rules—much to the delight of the audience, mayor and state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Jamaica).
“I would like to ask you if we can get more garbage bins and have the bathrooms cleaned more often,” the young girl read from a piece of paper. “The Lakeview Lane Playground needs to be renovated as well. Lastly, I would like to ask you if you can put up a kids recreation center. Thank you for your help.”
When the mayor asked the audience who agreed with young Elena’s request, the entire room shouted in approval.
“Elena, I want to give you special news,” de Blasio said. “I had a special announcement I was keeping secret for a little bit, but you may be the right person to talk to about it.”
The mayor said that $850,000 would be spent in upgrades for the park’s fitness equipment. The park’s running track will receive a $3 million renovation. The soccer and football fields will receive a $6 million renovation.
“You hit the jackpot,” de Blasio told Elena, giving her a high-five.
The mayor’s office told the PRESS of Southeast Queens that there is currently no timeline on when the capital projects would begin construction or be completed.