BY JON CRONIN
Despite political involvement at the state level, Kew Gardens residents are not standing down from their push to preserve the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge and the shops that sit upon it.
At the May 8 Community Board 9 meeting, Sylvia Hack, a CB 9 member and advocate for the bridge’s preservation, said that she continues to be disappointed in the lack of communication from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz regarding her support of the project.
Hack noted that advocates for the bridge’s preservation have been scheduled to meet with Katz three times over the past several months, and all three times the borough president has canceled.
Amparito Rosero, a representative for the borough president, said that Katz canceled the meetings since the MTA and Long Island Rail Road representatives were not available at those times. A new meeting was recently scheduled for May 24.
The bridge is owned and maintained by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Over the past several years, the shops on the bridge have fallen into disrepair. Collectively, the shops—according to their owners’ estimates—need approximately $3 million in repair.
Hack said that all of the local state senators and assemblymen have publicly given their support to the preservation of the bridge and hope to hear the borough president do the same.
She added that although state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (D- Flushing) have introduced legislation that directs the MTA to create a report on the feasibility of rehabilitating the bridge and shops, advocates should not rest.
Hack said that the advocates are encouraging residents to call and write to elected officials on the transportation committees in the state Assembly and Senate to encourage them to vote for these bills.
Andrew Taranto, Comrie’s communications director, told the Queens Tribune, that “S8029A [the bill] is currently among the senator’s highest priorities. He has had productive conversations with other lawmakers in Albany about the community’s need for this bill and moving it through committee and, eventually through the Senate. A lot of effort is being put into passing this before the end of session, but I don’t have a specific timeline to share. It goes without saying that nothing is ever guaranteed, but we are optimistic.”
Tim Thomas, Rosenthal’s chief of staff, said that the assemblyman is bringing the issue before the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee in the Assembly.