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THURSDAY, JULY 22, 2021                                   THE QUEENS TIMES                                                             PAGE 7

            21st Century Park System: NYC Parks Breaks Ground on                                         Seaside Library Reopening
         $3 Million Renovation of Challenge Playground in Little Neck

             NYC Parks Queens Borough
        Commissioner Michael Dockett
        joined Queens Borough President
        Donovan Richards, State Sena-
        tor John Liu, Assembly Member
        Edward Braunstein, City Council
        Member Barry Grodenchik, Com-
        munity Board 11 District Manager
        Joseph Marziliano, and commu-
        nity  members  to  break  ground
        on  improvements  to  Challenge
        Playground in Little Neck.
             “We’re excited to break ground
        on renovations that will transform
        Challenge Playground into a more
        inclusive and accessible greens-
        pace,” said Commissioner Dock-
        ett. “Upon completion, Queens
        residents and visitors can enjoy
        enhanced play and integral family-  outdoors. It’s great for health and  amazing outdoor space where lo-
        friendly space for recreation and  well-being, mental and physical.  cal residents, especially children,
        outdoor  fun.  We’re  grateful  to  The  Challenge  Playground  has  will be able to connect, interact,
        Borough President Richards and  a special place in our commu-  and thrive for years to come.”
        Council Member Grodenchik for  nity’s history and it’s long time       This project will reconstruct the
        making this upgrade a priority.”   to rebuild this important public  existing playground with brand
             “This is a great day for the  asset,” said State Senator John  new  sensory  play  equipment,
        children  and  families  of  Little  Lui. “Thanks to Council Member  swings, and spray showers. The
        Neck  as  we  break  ground  on  Grodenchik,  Queens  Borough  new design will feature auditory
        this first-class playground,” said  President Richards and the Parks  and visual elements that will offer
        Queens Borough President Dono-  Department for the strong partner-  playful shadow effects, sounds,
        van Richards Jr. “Children need  ship to get this project started and  and touchable textures. Additional
        to  have  high-quality  places  to  completed quickly.”    upgrades will include new seating
        play in order for them to grow       “Playgrounds are critical to  and picnic areas, plantings, and
        and thrive, and the reconstructed  the  health  of  a  community,  so  repaved pedestrian pathways for            Assemblywoman  Stacey   excited to welcome all back to the
        Challenge Playground will be such  the redesign and reconstruction  easier access to the play area.   Pheffer Amato joined the staff of  Library in person! To learn about
        a space. I thank Council Member  of  Challenge  Playground  will       Renovations to Challenge Play-  the Seaside branch of the Queens  the complete reopening plan, to
        Grodenchik and the de Blasio Ad-  provide  tremendous  benefit  to  ground were made possible by a  Public Library (QPL) to open the  learn about safety protocols, and
        ministration for making today’s  the communities of Little Neck  $75,000 allocation from Council  library back up to visitors for the  read FAQs go to Queens Public
        groundbreaking possible.”    and  Douglaston,”  said  Council  Member Barry Grodenchik and  first time since the pandemic! It  Library.  Remember  to  wear  a
             “Children and families are  Member Barry Grodenchik. “The                          was so great to see their friendly  mask when visiting the library.
        spending  more  and  more  time  improvements  will  create  an   (Continued on page 9)  faces to welcome this vital service  QPL looks forward to seeing ev-
                                                                                                back to the community. QPL is  eryone soon!
           NYPD & City District Attorneys Announce Expansion of
              The “Saturday Night Lights” Youth Sports Program                                   Suozzi Meets With Local Gym Owners
                                                                                                         to Advocate For GYMS Act
                  Queens  District  Attorney
        Melinda Katz recently joined the
        NYPD and the City District Attor-
        neys to announce the expansion of
        the “Saturday Night Lights” youth
        sports program.
             Queens County, specifically,
        is now home to 17 new program
        sites,  which  offer  recreational
        programming for young people on
        Saturday evenings from 5 to 7pm
        for ages 11-14 and from 7 to 9pm
        for ages 15-18.
             The growth of this City-wide
        program reflects the importance of
        empowering young New Yorkers  activities. This program creates  Queens represents keen invest-
        to make good choices. Saturday  an opportunity for kids to be with  ment in our youth, our commu-
        Night Lights enables young par-  coaches, mentors and a commu-  nities, and public safety in our
        ticipants to spend their time in  nity that cares about the path of  borough. I encourage you to visit
        positive ways, engaging in team  our youth.                our website for more information,
        building experiences, high-inten-       During a summer of increased  which includes the locations of the
        sity sports and other recreational  violence, this expansion across  new programming sites.
           Shekina House of Worship Held Community Health Fair

                                                                                                Bipartisan Legislation would pro-  owners that he will help advance
                                                                                                vide $30 billion in targeted relief   the GYMS Act to the House floor
                                                                                                to gyms and fitness facilities that   to ensure that Long Island’s fitness
             The Shekina House of Worship,                                                      have suffered financially at no   studios and gyms would receive
        in partnership with the NYPD,                                                           fault of their own           the financial support they need.
        FNDY,  Jamaica  Hospital,  and                                                                                            “The pandemic has had a dra-
        New York Life, hosted the Immu-                                                              Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-  matic impact on the fitness indus-
        nity, Unity, Community Health                                                           Long Island, Queens) welcomed   try,” said Rep. Suozzi. “I will do
        Fair  in  Jamaica  last  weekend.                                                       Charles  Cassara,  the  owner  of   all I can to ensure that the GYMs
        Residents received free screen-                                                         SC Fitness in Farmingdale and   Act becomes law and that fitness
        ings, groceries, COVID testing                                                          Hicksville, and Joseph Cannizzo,   facilities have the resources they
        and  vaccines,  giveaways  and                                                          the owner of Judo Jujitsi dojo on   need to make it to the other side
        more.                                                                                   Staten Island, pictured above, to   of  this  crisis  and  protect  their
             The Queens District Attorneys                                                      his Washington, DC office to dis-  customers in the interim.”
        Office staff was also on-site to                                                        cuss the urgent need for Congress        “We were the first to close to
        provide  information  on  legal                                                         to provide targeted relief for New   keep America safe, now we need
        resources, fraud prevention, and                                                        York’s gyms and fitness facilities.   your  help  to  stay  open.  Many
        immigration  affairs  services                                                               During the meeting, Suozzi
        available within their Office.                                                          ensured  both  fitness  facilities   (Continued on page 9)
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