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Koslowitz plans run for former Council seat

Deputy Borough President Karen Koslowitz, formerly Forest Hills' City Council representative, says she will be a candidate in 2009 for her old seat but is in no hurry to rush into fund-raising just yet.

Koslowitz was term limited out of the City Council in 2001 and City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills), who has held the seat since then, is to be a 2009 candidate for city comptroller. The district comprises Forest Hills and parts of Kew Gardens and Rego Park.

"I made sure the community had the services they deserved with the taxes they paid, and I want to continue that," Koslowitz said in a telephone interview. "I felt I did a good job and I want to come back."

Her candidacy has been discussed for months in the borough, but she has yet to file any paperwork with the city Campaign Finance Board to make it official.

"I intend to declare in the fall," she said. Koslowitz has not begun raising money yet for her run.

Since 2001, Koslowitz has been deputy borough president, overseeing the community boards and attending functions throughout Queens in her official capacity.

"I certainly have an overview of Queens," she said of the experience gained in her current role. "I care about our quality of life, I care about education, our parks, our seniors, and I feel qualified because I'm a senior. I know what seniors need going through the bureaucratic system."

Koslowitz's plans if she wins her seat back revolve around maintaining Forest Hills' standard of living, but she is already choosing her battles.

"I would like to see our quality of life continue. I think Forest Hills does well, but I would like to see businesses flourish along Austin Street and 63rd Drive," she said. "Those food vendors are an eyesore."

School crowding is another issue that has caught her eye. She mentioned that the two-school Metropolitan-Woodhaven complex slated to open in 2010 is a project that began during her time in the Council.

"I think Ridgewood is the most overcrowded district in the country, definitely in the city, and I would like to see that change," Koslowitz said.

Her tenure in the City Council was defined by several things, like making a section of Austin Street one-way to create more parking spaces, a decline in fatalities along Queens Boulevard and the protests that precipitated the closure of the strip club Runway 69, Koslowitz said.

"I invested $6 million in fencing along Queens Boulevard between Union Turnpike and Eliot Street. The city Department of Transportation has invested in fencing all along Queens Boulevard because they saw it saved lives," she said. "Since the fences have gone up, deaths all along the boulevard have declined dramatically."

Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodoulides@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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