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Community Board 4 chooses new leaders

Louis Walker was voted the new chairman of Community Board 4. He previously held the position for five years. Photo by Rebecca Henely
TimesLedger Newspapers

While Community Board 4 has not yet hired a new district manager to replace Richard Italiano, who died of a heart attack last month, the board voted to name Louis Walker its chairman at its monthly meeting last week.

“I’m excited about it,” said Walker, who ran unopposed.

The board, which covers the neighborhoods of Elmhurst and Corona below Roosevelt Avenue, also elected new vice chairs, a new treasurer, a new executive secretary and four at-large directors.

Most of the nominees faced no competition, although the board did vote for the at-large directors from a pool of five candidates. The winners were Patricia Terranova for vice chairwoman, outgoing CB 4 Chairman Anthony Moreno for second vice chairman, Joseph DiMartino for treasurer and Clara Salas for executive secretary.

Terranova said unlike the executive board, district managers are hired, paid positions and the board would be looking into hiring a new manager shortly.

Walker previously held the chairmanship for five years and said he hopes he can do a better job than he did previously.

“It will be different this time, I’m sure,” Walker said. “Each time it is a little bit different.”

Meanwhile, one person who had threatened to leave the board said he would be sticking around. Nick Pennachio, who said he would be resigning from the board last month due to two members’ refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance, rescinded his resignation.

The announcement was met with applause from the board.

Pennachio, who has been a member of the board for 24 years, said his change of heart came after Borough President Helen Marshall refused to accept his resignation. The death of Italiano also influenced his decision.

“I wanted to be here for the transition of the new district manager,” Pennachio said.

The board also discussed the ongoing plans to renovate the former St. John’s Queens Hospital, at 90-02 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, into a mixed-use facility. The much-missed hospital was closed along with Jamaica’s Mary Immaculate in 2009, when parent company Caritas filed for bankruptcy after racking up $100 million in debt and could not get the state to provide $36 million for operating costs.

Moreno said he went on a walkthrough of the hospital with the current architects for the property, Brooklyn’s NSC Architecture. He said the new plans call for a supermarket in the basement, retail on the first two floors, offices on the third floor, a medical facility on the fourth floor and rentals on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors.

He said the board was planning to meet with the architects again soon.

“We’re keeping on top of this and making sure that we can be as helpful to them as possible,” Moreno said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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