Today’s news:

Marshall OKs plan for College Point police academy

Borough President Helen Marshall approved plans for a new police academy in College Point last Thursday, meaning the city has two of the four green lights it needs to build the proposed $1 billion facility.

The city’s proposed plan calls for a massive $1 billion, 3-million-square-foot police training academy in College Point with 250 classrooms, a field house and a tactical village.

Marshall said the police are “the first line of defense in protecting the city from terrorism” and that the new facility will be “another valuable asset serving College Point, Queens and all of New York City.”

The city said because of the economic crisis, the NYPD currently has only $700 million in funding and will construct the project in phases until additional funding becomes available.

Community Board 7 approved the plan last month after the city promised to give extensive benefits to the surrounding neighborhoods. The project now needs the approval of the City Planning Commission and the City Council to begin construction.

Opponents of the project, such as Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), contend the facility will overburden an area already congested by traffic, bringing upwards of 5,000 people a day to the area.

Last month, the city presented a letter to the board at its hearing on the project signed by Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler, promising a bevy of projects for the community in exchange for its approval.

Skyler said the city Department of Transportation will carry out a makeover of College Point Boulevard, complete with computerized traffic signals, resurfacing and the resolution of problems from Seventh Avenue in College Point to Fowler Avenue in Flushing.

Under the agreement, the DOT will also widen the on-ramp to the Van Wyck Expressway to two lanes and create a new north-south U-turn on Linden Place.

Skyler also said the city Department of Environmental Protection will begin design work on a $50 million drainage project to mitigate flood-plagued regions in College Point and Whitestone over the next eight years and develop an air monitoring plan for communities downwind of the construction.

Skyler’s letter pledged the NYPD would keep all parking contained on the facility and would come back to the board if any substantial changes were made to the project.

A hearing date for the CPC had not been set as of press time.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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