Monday, December 20, 2010

Lindenwood Alliance Seeks Unified Voice by Bryan Yurcan -Queens Chronicle

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Joanne Ariola, left, and Christina Gold, the cofounders of the Lindenwood Alliance, listen as Debbie Velez of Phoenix Security, a private firm that patrols some parts of Lindenwood, speaks.

A new alliance has formed in Lindenwood.

About 30 people who live in the small section of Howard Beach met Tuesday for the first meeting of a new civic group, dubbed the Lindenwood Alliance, designed to promote cooperation between residents, police and elected officials in the area.

The idea for the group started as conversations between two Lindenwood residents, Christina Gold and Joanne Ariola.

The two had never met before attending a meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council in October, where both raised concerns about quality of life and increasing crime in the area. They then began speaking over the phone and the idea for the Lindenwood Alliance was born shortly thereafter.

“Each little area in Howard Beach has it’s own very specific issues, and we wanted to have a unified voice for Lindenwood,” Ariola said. “It’s not so much a civic, but an alliance.”

Gold said she initially attended the community council meeting a few months ago because she was concerned about the lack of police presence in Lindenwood.

Since that time, she said, the situation has gotten a little bit better.

But the goal of the Lindenwood Alliance goes deeper than just addressing crime-related issues,” Gold said.

“We want to reconnect the community with not only the 106th, but elected officials as well,” she said. “And we want to talk about the good things happening here also.”

Some residents who attended the meeting did express concerns about the police protection in Lindenwood, specifically requesting more patrols around the park at PS 232, where some residents claimed teens often gather to drink and sell drugs.

106th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Ken Zorn praised the group for forming and expressing their concerns to the Police Department.

“The more people get involved, the more the higher-ups hear you and the better chance we get for more resources,” Zorn said.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) also said it is important for residents to get civically involved to help improve quality of life issues, especially in the current
economic climate where budget cuts may mean less police officers on the street.

“There’s 8,000 less cops in the city than there was 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s absolutely critical that communities step up to the plate and form alliances like this one. We need as many anti-crime deterrents as possible.”

Gold said she had noticed increased patrols in the Lindenwood area since Thomas Pascale took over as commanding officer of the 106th Precinct last month.

Though it lacks a formal governing body now, Gold said the alliance will work on seeking volunteers for its board and begin drafting bylaws shortly.