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Western Queens nonprofits serving youth organizations and the elderly breathed a sigh of relief after City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) doled out her discretionary spending items for the 2012 fiscal year along with a grant that will go toward building a park at the St. Saviour’s site.
In her capital spending grants, Crowley allocated $1.1 million to go toward a park on the site of St. Saviour’s church.
And for many of the non-profits, such as Maspeth Town Hall Community Center, would not have been able to continue a lot of their programs without additional money from the city.
“Let me put it this way,” said Eileen Reilly, executive director of the center. “Without those dollars, we would not be able to have an after-school program at all.”
In addition to programs for seniors and youth the center, at 53-37 72nd St., also runs four after-school programs in western Queens. The programs include gang resistance education, sports and even a Lego robot competition.
“You want to make sure those children are in a safe environment instead of on the street,” she said. “There is no substitute for that.”
Crowley gave $30,000 to the center for children’s programs.
“I believe Maspeth Town Hall improves the lives of our children — and not just in Maspeth — but over all of Queens,” Crowley said, adding that the majority of her discretionary funding goes toward programs for senior citizens and youth.
She also funded many sports programs, including $3,500 to girls’ basketball organization Shooting Stars of Queens and $12,000 to Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth Little League.
For the elderly, Crowley doled out cash to several organizations including $20,000 to Ridgewood Older Adult Center and Services Inc. to fund upkeep and services in the building and $20,510 to Peter Cardella Senior Citizen Center, which provides meals for roughly 250 seniors a day.
She also gave more than $20,000 to Queens Multi-Service Center in Glendale. The center is tied to the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, which is currently the subject of a federal financial probe and associated with embattled state Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn), a leader in the Kings County Democratic Party.
But Crowley said she has visited the center and verified it provides essential services to the elderly community.
“I know Queens Multi-Service gets the money I put in,” Crowley said. “My seniors depend on it.”
In the city’s capital budget, Crowley focused heavily on schools and parks.
“Every school in the district receives capital dollars for programs, basic updates for computers or smart boards or upgrading facilities such as playgrounds,” she said.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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