Assemblywoman Nily Rozic spearheaded the initiative along with Councilman Paul Vallone. The launch coincided with Arbor Day, which is celebrated on the last Friday of April every year.
Rozic began the Greening Eastern Queens Initiative in Hillcrest and Fresh Meadows after Hurricane Sandy, when constituents started calling her office about numerous fallen trees and rotting tree stumps.
After a survey, Rozic’s office compiled a report for the Parks Department identifying 92 empty tree pits and stumps, of which 85 were marked for replacement.
“Eastern Queens contains some of the most beautiful streetscapes in the city,” Rozic said. “The Greening Eastern Queens initiative will work to preserve our neighborhood and make sidewalks safer.”
The beautifying project will cover 211th Street to Bell Boulevard and 48th Avenue to the Horace Harding Expressway.
State Senator Tony Avella attended the launch of the initiative and voiced his support of taking care of trees in the neighborhood.
“As many people know, I have been a longtime advocate for increased tree maintenance in the City of New York and have continuously spoken out against former Mayor Bloomberg’s policy of planting a million trees rather than taking care of the ones we already have,” he said.
“So many tree-related hazards are evident as you walk down residential blocks, but the city has refused, time and time again, to properly respond to tree prunings, dead tree and stump removal requests,” Avella said.
When asked if the Greening Eastern Queens Initiative would end in Bayside Hills, Rozic said she hoped to canvass and survey all of the neighborhoods across her district.