BY TRONE DOWD
Community Board 13 kicked off its first meeting since breaking for the summer this week with a brand new chairman, Clive Williams, who introduced a new mission statement for the board moving forward.
He said that he will always work towards “advancing the expectations, aspirations and goals of our community.”
Williams intends to be transparent and accessible and take into account the board’s diverse needs and concerns.
While the shift in leadership marked a new day for CB 13, the issues remained similar. The inundation of shelters was one of the topics brought up during the meeting’s public session by several attendees, including Queens Borough President Republican candidate Bill Kregler.
“These shelters are put here in the middle of the night,” Kregler said. “They’re turning hotels into shelters. They’re constructing brand new hotels and turning them into shelters.”
He mentioned that he lived near Engine 292 Rescue 4 in Woodside, where a Holiday Inn Express is being built.
Kregler was far from the only attendee to express concern over new shelters in the area. Cambria Heights resident Elvis Jackson said he was frustrated that yet another group home was coming to one of his neighborhood’s residential zones.
“There are 64 [supportive housing] facilities in this community board,” Jackson said. “This is way more than any other community in Queens.”
Jackson accused the new chairman of the board of being complacent on the matter. Williams, who also resides in Cambria Heights, clarified that he wasn’t talking about allowing the issue to persist, but instead embraced the opportunity to care for the people who are from CB 13’s neighborhoods and face any number of issues, such as drug addiction, homelessness and mental health.
The audience seemed split between the two perspectives. One Springfield Gardens resident told Williams that it wasn’t his “responsibility as a homeowner” for 22 years to “cure the ills of this city.”