July 2, 2011 By Christian Murray
The firehouses are remaining open, teachers still have their jobs and most Sunnyside & Woodside residents will receive the same level of city services that they did before the New York City budget was passed on Wednesday.
Furthermore, there are some additional benefits for the neighborhood. The city is pumping $600,000 into the renovation of Thomas P. Noonan Playground; $125,000 has been allocated toward a teen reading room at the Woodside Library; and Friends of Sunnyside Gardens Park are going to split $50,000 with the friends of Queensbridge Park.
The fear that there would be teacher layoffs at PS 150 and IS 125 were alleviated by the budget, when the city council reached an agreement with Mayor Michael Bloomberg on June 24. Additionally, with passing of the budget this week, the cherished PS 150 after-school program, which was in risk of closing, will be in operation for the 2011/12 school year.
Meanwhile, the 20 fire companies that were on the chopping block will remain open, including Blissville’s Ladder 128, which services Sunnyside. Furthermore, the Queens Library system, which was likely to see a $25 million cut in funding, had $23 million restored. About 400 Queens Library jobs that were in jeopardy were saved—and the hours at the Sunnyside branch will not change, according to a spokeswoman from Queens Library.
“Our district did very well,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “I’m very proud to deliver results and resources such as saving Ladder 128, ensuring the PS 150 afterschool program continues, and saving thousands of jobs.”
Van Bramer expressed excitement about the renovation of Thomas P. Noonan Playground. He said that he initially planned to repair the rainbow sprinkler system and choppy ground around it—but it has morphed into a larger project where he is now in discussions about a redesign.
The councilman also said the graffiti program, where residents can call his hot-line at 718-383-9655 ext. 3 and get graffiti promptly cleaned, will continue; additionally, there is funding for the Skillman Ave. holiday lights at the end of 2011.