QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz delivered her annual “State of the Borough” address this morning at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, where she offered a report on Queens’ recent milestones, key investments, and her vision for the future of the borough.
“What we’ve actually been doing in Queens is setting a roadmap and building the infrastructure for the future, of where we want the borough to be by the beginning of the next generation, by at least 2030,” Borough President Katz began in the forward-looking address. The full text of the Borough President’s remarks is available here.
Highlights from the Borough President’s address included:
- Plans to convene a Queens Complete Count Committee that will be charged with strategizing and implementing ways to maximize the participation of Queens residents in the 2020 United States Census.
- A breakdown of Borough President Katz’s funding allocations during her first term, totaling nearly $300 million for capital priorities throughout Queens. Over a third of the total went toward education, funding hundreds of schools across K-12, upgrades at all five CUNY institutions based in Queens, and major renovations and expansions at neighborhood libraries. Another third went toward 57 Queens parks. Millions more went to the borough’s hospitals and health centers, housing projects, cultural institutions, and safety enhancements including upgrades to historic firehouses, Argus security cameras in the streets, and a new NYPD mobile command substation in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. She remarked expecting “more groundbreakings and ribbon-cuttings” in the coming years, vowing to continue “keeping project managers and contractors on course, marking milestones when made, and unveiling the physical fruitions of tax dollar investments into our future.”
- Urging for more parity in per pupil spending and a greater share of the city’s budget for Queens schools, the most overcrowded yet also the most underfunded in the City of New York. While most other boroughs are below capacity, Queens schools as a whole exceed capacity at 108 percent, with 116 percent capacity at its elementary schools and 113 percent capacity in its high schools. Queens, however, also receives the lowest amount of funding per pupil than every other borough. “So we have the most kids, but get the least amount to educate per kid,” Borough President Katz said.
- The Western Queens Strategic Tech Plan, a study commissioned by Borough President Katz to create the city’s leading tech ecosystem and ultimately, more equitable job growth.
- Advocating for “one continuous, protected bike lane throughout Queens as part of a boroughwide bike plan that enhances safety for all pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and that allows greater carfree access between communities.”
Arriving guests enjoyed music performed by a jazz quintet and a string ensemble, both from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) introduced the Borough President at the start of this morning’s event. The program began with the presentation of colors by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Ceremonial Unit, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Faatiha Aayat, a first grade student at P.S. 16 in Corona and resident of Elmhurst. Wendy Lin, a student at the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York (CUNY) and resident of Elmhurst, sang the National Anthem. Gideon Frankel, Principal of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, delivered brief welcoming remarks.
Following the program, a brief reception was held featuring music by the string ensemble and catering by DelishNY of Corona. The 2018 State of the Borough was recorded by Queens Public Television (QPTV) and will air on the following dates and times on the following channels:
Day Date Time Spectrum RCN Fios
Thursday February 15, 2018 6:00 pm 34/1995 82 34
Thursday February 22, 2018 6:00 pm 34/1995 82 34
Thursday March 1, 2018 6:00 pm 34/1995 82 34
Thursday March 8, 2018 6:00 pm 34/1995 82 34
Thursday March 15, 2018 6:00 pm 34/1995 82 34
Thursday March 22, 2018 6:00 pm 34/1995 82 34
Thursday March 29, 2018 6:00 pm 34/1995 82 34
JetBlue Airways Corporation, headquartered in Long Island City, was the proud prime sponsor of Borough President Katz’s 2018 State of the Borough event.
Follow Borough President Katz via @melindakatz or www.facebook.com/queensbpkatz