New Year, Fresh Start


The Federated Blocks of Laurelton is a community-based organization dedicated to the cleaning and beautification of their public plaza spaces, as well as striving to bring people together to discuss and address problems and concerns they might face in Laurelton. The Federated Blocks’ members come together with determination monthly with the goal of achieving a better Laurelton, one that will be a safe space and benefit its denizens.

On Thursday, January 5th, 2017, the members of Federated Blocks met on Merrick Boulevard for their first meeting of the New Year. As a facilitator of community journalism at the STEAM for Social Change program fueled by Divas for Social Justice at the Linden SDA School, I was excited to attend the meeting, interested in what had been done in the community last year as well as all the ambitious new plans for 2017.

Luckily, I got all the information I was hoping for, and pleasant surprises as well. A representative from the 105 Precinct informed us that crime in Laurelton is down 21%, robbery 44%, and burglary 33%. In 2016, Laurelton had the lowest amount of crime the city has ever seen since 1994. He stressed the significance of these large drops in crime, attributing them to the police officers getting the right repeat-offense perpetrators off the streets, something I was glad to hear.

In addition to crime, a crime of a different sort was addressed as well–snow storms. The height of winter brings with it a plethora of storms, and representatives from the Department of Health and Sanitation attended the meeting, ready to answer member concerns and/or complaints. They answered questions with patience and grace, also giving us good news about different plowing tactics that the teams in Queens would utilize in case of snow storms. After last year’s Superstorm Jonas frenzy, over 80 million dollars have been given to the teams in Queens to secure new and more efficient equipment, as well as sixteen new pieces of smaller equipment for smaller side streets that large plowers would not fit down.

Lastly, great plans for the new precinct were discussed. Councilman Donovan Richards has secured 70 million dollars for the erection of a new precinct–the 116th, lightening the burden on the 105th precinct, because of so many different neighborhoods they have to cater to daily. Months of hard work in 2016 were dedicated to this approval, and the months of work have paid off.

Hearing and witnessing the enthusiasm of the presenters and members of Federated Blocks firsthand was an encouragement, as well as a surefire sign that things are only continuing to get better in our communities, and that the road that is continuing to be paved by this year 2017 can only be a bright one.