By Renee Foster
On her 387th day in office, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz delivered her first State of the Borough speech at Queens College’s Colden Auditorium, listing accomplishments that she spoke of with pride, and future goals that she addressed with a mixture of humor, hope and determination.
“We don’t claim to be the center of the universe, but we are, without a doubt, the intersection of the world,” Katz said. Katz also touted her allocation of millions of dollars to several of the borough’s cultural institutions, and her plans to address affordable housing and school overcrowding, two things that could severely hurt the borough’s growth. Notably, in her list of accomplishments during first her year as Borough President, the largest being her push to save the old New York State Pavilion, which has been in a state disrepair for decades. “Last year, we secured nearly $6 million dollars to start the restoration process.
“The challenge for government is to keep Queens competitive as the most attractive option for families,” she said. She also humorously put Brooklyn’s borough president on notice. “Queens is hot and on the move. Sorry Eric,” Katz said. Katz quoted a number of publications, including Conde Nast Traveler, as saying that Queens is increasingly becoming a destination for tourism with its myriad business, sports, cultural and entertainment offering. She said toward that end, her office devoted a full quarter of its capital budget to cultural organizations.
“Our motto at Borough Hall is simply this,” Katz told a capacity crowd at the Colden Center at Queens College. “If it’s good for our families, it’s good for Queens.”