BY JAMES FARRELL
During a town hall event in Briarwood on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced additional funding for an outdoor classroom at Willow Lake Park in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
De Blasio committed $800,000 to building the classroom, adding that Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), who hosted the town hall, had been pursuing the project.
“He’s put almost $2 million into this effort,” de Blasio said of Lancman. “We’re going to add another $800,000 to finish it and get it done.”
Flushing Meadows Corona Park was recently the subject of a lawsuit between Lancman and the city. In 2016, Lancman sued the city over its appointments to the board of the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a conservancy that helps preserve and maintain the park. Lancman, whose district includes the southern tip of the park, which includes Willow Lake, argued that he and other legislators whose districts contain parts of the park were excluded from the board.
The city settled the lawsuit in August, allowing Lancman and the others to join the board.
“Thank you @MayorDeblasio and @RoryLancman for funding a new outdoor classroom in Willow lake,” the Alliance tweeted after the announcement. “What a great addition this will be for our park.”
The announcement for the funding was part of de Blasio’s introductory remarks at the town hall, where Briarwood residents and Lancman’s constituents grilled the mayor with questions for three hours.
The mayor also announced that he would commit funding to renovate and provide air conditioning to a room in the NYCHA Shelton House in Jamaica, although he did not offer a dollar amount, and that five of the city’s 21 incoming Select Bus Service Routes would be located in Lancman’s district.
Another issue that came up was the vacant T Building, which once housed a tuberculosis clinic. Community Board 8 has been involved in talks about the future use of the building, trying to ensure that part of the space is used as a community facility, and has been communicating with community organizations who could potentially use the space.
“Those who want to see the space available for a community center, I think will be very pleased in the coming days,” Lancman said. “Who will fill that space and what programming they will have, that remains for them to figure out.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.