Today’s news:

Five Queens youth centers saved temporarily from chopping block

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council have acted to spare 19 community centers in public housing sites that were previously slated to close, including five in Queens.

Though the New York City Housing Authority, which operates the community centers, is still short millions of dollars in federal funding, the centers will continue under the control of the city Youth and Community Development Department’s Beacon program until other community−based organizations can put in bids to run them, officials said last week.

In Queens, community centers at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City, Ocean Bay Apartments and the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway, South Jamaica II houses in South Jamaica and Latimer Gardens in Flushing will be taken over by the Beacon programs next month.

In the first phase, from Feb. 2 to Dec. 31, Youth Department−funded Beacon community centers located near the NYCHA facilities will establish comprehensive satellite programs at each of the respective sites.

In the second phase, the Youth Department will issue a request for proposals from qualified community−based organizations interested in operating programs at 25 sites, including six that were not slated to close.

New contracts will begin Jan. 1, 2010.

— Jeremy Walsh

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