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Monday, August 24, 2015

FDR Four Freedoms Park President Responds To Queens Critics Of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz $300 Thousand Grant To Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park

  Image Of FDR Park And Queens Waterfront via Politico and AP

Reported last week that:
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz allocated $300 thousand in her Fiscal Year 2016 discretionary capital funds budget to Roosevelt Island's NY State FDR Four Freedoms Park.
The $300 Thousand grant caused some Queens residents to complain about funds from the Queens Borough President's office being spent on a NY State Manhattan Park and the lack of funds spent on Queens parks.

I asked FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy President Sally Minard:
"improve lighting along the shorefront facing Queens in Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island."

Some Queens residents are very upset that the FDR Park in Manhattan (Roosevelt Island) is receiving funds from the Queens Borough President when there are many Queens parks in dire need for improvement.

Do you think it appropriate for a NY State park located in the Manhattan jurisdiction on Roosevelt Island to receive funds from the Queens Borough President discretionary capital budget earmarked for Queens parks?
Will FDR Park return the money to the Queens Borough President's Office for use in Queens parks?...
Ms. Minard replied:
We are delighted Queens Borough President Melinda Katz chose to appropriate $32,000,000 to parks in her 2016 capital budget. This is an enlightened investment in infrastructure that directly enhances quality of life for Queen’s residents and those who visit the borough.

Less than 1% of the Borough President’s appropriation is designated for FDR Four Freedoms Park. The funds, combined with funding from Manhattan, New York State and private sources will support installation of new lighting to illuminate the exterior of the memorial park. This lighting installation will make the remarkable Louis Kahn design, a sculpture in the New York landscape, visible from the Queens and Manhattan shorelines after dark. The beauty of the illuminated Kahn design will be a new experience that will be shared equally by residents of Queens and Manhattan.

Every month, thousands of Queens residents already share the free educational and public programming, commemorative events, musical performances, and health and fitness sessions offered to visitors at FDR Four Freedoms Park. They come to enjoy the Park’s lush lawn, tree shaded allees and peaceful waterfront promenades with spectacular Queens and Manhattan skyline views.

We are a new, New York City cultural institution that exists for the pleasure of visitors from across the city, the country and around the world. We appreciate Borough President Katz’s recognition of the economic value to the city of this new destination and her willingness to enhance the Park’s aesthetic value to her constituents.
UPDATE 8/25 - Queens Crapper reacts to statement from Ms. Minard:
... Well I didn't expect this lady to look a gift horse in the mouth, but by her logic, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer should be allocating funding toward Gantry Park in LIC because Manhattanites can see it and on occasion take the ferry over to use it. (Somehow I don't see that happening.)

How about we just keep it simple and require that the BPs spend their pots of money in the boroughs they represent? Is that really too much to ask? Or is helping developers sell real estate now the primary function of elected officials?