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Douglaston Historical raises money for future

The Douglaston Historical Society raised $20,000 during an event Friday showcasing old photos of the neighborhood from 1925-45.

The funds are to be used to help commission a master plan for future development of a tract of land between 235th Street and Douglaston Parkway on both sides of the neighborhood Long Island Rail Road station, according to Lisa Lempel-Sander, a Douglaston Historical Society member and founding member of the Douglaston Local Development Corp., which was incorporated within the last year.

“The event was to raise funds to commission a master plan for the Douglaston village and to continue the dialogue about how to revitalize the village,” Lempel-Sander said.

Lempel-Sander said community residents are concerned developers, who in recent years bought up land around the track, will build high-rise apartments, doctors and lawyers offices or more parking lots.

“There is no activity at the moment, but we want to make sure that everybody is on the same page when the economy bounces back,” she said.

Lempel-Sander said the community would like retail shops, such as a specialty food store, bakery, meat market, fish market and supermarket that supplies fresh produce for the area.

“There’s a lot of talk about wanting to keep our resources local,” she said. “There’s a lot of spending power in this community and it’s being driven to Manhasset nine times out of 10.”

Lempel-Sander said about 200 people showed up for Friday’s event, titled “Flights of Fancy: Aerial Photography of Douglaston and Little Neck,” and $20,000 was raised to commission a master plan.

Lempel-Sander said the strong showing was an example of how united Douglaston and Little Neck residents are in preventing overdevelopment in the area.

“There’s a groundswell of support for this kind of a project in our community,” she said. “We’re riding a wave of support.”

Aside from the $20,000 raised, Lempel-Sander said the historical society has applications for grant funds pending that would go toward the commission of a master plan.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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