The Mill Basin Civic Association (MBCA) hosted a student achievement awards ceremony and welcomed a special guest from the Office of the Mayor at their last meeting before the summer break, held at Congregation Beit Hillel of Flatlands, 2164 Ralph Avenue, on Tuesday, June 14th.
Following the awards ceremony and a brief update about the passage of NYC’s $101 billion budget, MBCA President Paul Curiale introduced Anastasia Yaskova, Brooklyn Borough Director of the Community Affairs Unit, Office of the Mayor.
“Our part is to build a bridge between the community and our administration, so the community feels free to reach out to us with issues, with problems and things that need to be expedited,” Yaskova said.
She described the conditions in the city as a little terrifying and filled with many problems and said that there was little communication between the city agencies or between the community and city departments.
“Community is not heard and that is why we cannot work together,” she said, stating that the reason for her visit was to represent the Mayor’s office.
She gave updates about the various celebrations taking place throughout the month and touched on some of Mayor Adams’ major priorities and specific steps taken to create preventive models for public safety, including the Blueprint to End Gun Violence, the expansion of funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program and investments in summer education programs. They are also rolling out NYPD Neighborhood Safety Teams to make the streets safer and take guns off the streets.
According to Curiale, the major issues are homelessness, crime and safety, all exacerbated by COVID. He mentioned that Mill Basin didn’t qualify for a safety team like Canarsie. “Safety teams mean there are a lot of guns and gangs like in areas closer to Glenwood or the Junction,” he said. “I always tell people to please be safe, look out for each other and lock your car doors.”
Residents were concerned about the closing of several Rite Aid stores, especially as it would affect property values in the area.
Curiale explained that the closings were because of the tremendous increase in lootings and robberies. He said that as long as the thefts are under $1,000, the store doesn’t want to act because with the way things are now, the criminals aren’t prosecuted. He said the pharmacies are closing in droves and it’s a perplexing problem because people depend on them.
He mentioned that the bail reform law was tweaked recently and we now need to see it in motion, but a lot of the changes are backlogged because the courts were closed due to COVID.
Some residents asked for help in getting traffic lights installed on their streets because of speeding cars. Another resident was concerned with homeless people on the subway platforms.
MBCA board member and senior advocate for the Marine Park Active Adults Bob Spieler asks for help from the Mayor’s Office to secure permanent nets and more playing space for pickleball at Marine Park.MBCA board member Bob Spieler asked for more attention from the Mayor’s office to help secure better pickleball accommodations and permanent nets for Marine Park.
“We need to have the Parks Department Commissioner do a little more for our Marine Park because there are other parks that have gotten a lot of permanent nets, but we’re still pleading,” he said. He explained that the Marine Park Active Adults now have over 400 players and although the Commissioner has given them one converted tennis court, there are two tennis courts next to the pickleball court that would help meet their burgeoning needs.