BY LYNN EDMONDS
Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) announced his budget victories for fiscal year 2017 earlier this month, detailing how $25 million in funds will be spread throughout the 20th District. He highlighted allocations for schools, security at NYCHA, sanitation, the Queens Botanical Garden, and affordable housing.
Koo allocated the largest portion of funds to schools in the district. He set aside a total of $3.1 million for schools for FY 2017.
“Education funding must be paramount in our community, and I will continue to make sure our schools have the resources they need to provide our children with the best learning environment possible in years ahead,” Koo said.
He added that his office has broken a record by allocating $20 million to schools over six years, with the majority of the funding going to capital improvements.
One special project included $500,000 for a rooftop greenhouse on top of Francis Lewis High School, where kids will be able to conduct scientific research.
Koo also invested $1.6 million in security cameras for NYCHA developments. All three developments, Bland Houses, Latimer Gardens and 34th Street, will now have security cameras.
With concerns about trash in downtown Flushing reaching new heights this year, Koo budgeted $96,628 in order to provide two extra days of trash pick up per week. The services will be provided through the NYC Cleanup Initiative. Koo also allocated an extra $25,000 in funding to the Flushing BID to expand its sanitation and graffiti removal services, bringing the organization’s total city funding to $269,421.
The Queens Botanical Garden won big this year, with $7 million that came from Koo, the borough president, and the city council speaker. The money will be used for capital upgrades and cultural programming. The Flushing Council on Culture and Arts, based in Flushing Town Hall, received nearly $600,000 in capital funding.
Lastly, One Flushing, a new 100 percent affordable housing project that will be built on Muni Lot #3, received $530,000 from Koo. The funding will also go to a new community center located within the building.
Parks and recreational spaces also got some love with $500,000 to renovate the Bland Houses basketball courts, $1.1 million to renovate the Saul Weprin Playground and $70,000 for a high-tech snow plow that would clear the sidewalks outside of Flushing’s parks.
Koo also used $710,000 in discretionary funding to give money to 83 local non-profits, including including the Korean American Family Service Center,
New York Chinese Opera Society, Flushing Jewish Community Council, South Asian Council for Social Services and Queens Historical Society.