Lillie Marshall fields housing complaints at monthly tenant meeting, by George Fiala

If you live in the Red Hook West Houses, you are eligible to become a voting member of the Red Hook West Tenant Association, and have President Lillie Marshall help you with NYCHA issues. Another major benefit is being part of a community which meets every second Tuesday at 428 Columbia Street, apartment 1 C. The dues are only $2 per year.

The April meeting began with Miss Marshall giving out official complaint slips which she forward to housing. In an informal prelude to the official meeting, Miss Marshall noted that the Red Hook Houses are right now the only public housing development in the city without a major crime problem. “Coney Island has shootings – we have none.” There is a sense of community in Red Hook that is evidenced by the active interest of those that show up at these meetings – comparable to the Civic Association meetings that take place once a month at PS 15.

 

Miss Barbara Smith talks about the sad state of the Coffey Park playgrounds.

Miss Barbara Smith talks about the sad state of the Coffey Park playgrounds.

Scaffolding to come down
Marshall warned residents to make sure that their window air conditioners are bracketed to the building. She will be walking around and notifying apartments that are not in compliance. Roofwork is finally finished on many of the buildings and after many years, the scaffolding is due to be taken down on most of the buildings on Columbia and Dwight Streets by August 5. However, loose air conditioning may postpone the taking down of the scaffolding, and in addition, non compliance can be a ticketed offense. She said that NYCHA will “send your folder downtown,” meaning that there would be grounds for being removed from public housing. The correct brackets sell for $35 at Home Depot and $29.95 at Lowes, however, they are frequently out of stock. Someone asked whether it would be alright if the air conditioners were screwed into the window. Miss Marshall said that in fact her air conditioners were installed that way by NYCHA many years ago. She has since asked that very question and was not given an answer. However, she things it’s better not to question and do it their way. What they are concerned about are air conditioners falling out of windows during storms.

Pre-K signups
The meeting officially began with a presentation by Carmen Calderon, representing Assemblyman Felix Ortiz. She is excited about the new pre-K programs that will begin in September and the Assemblyman is sighing up parents at his office at 404 55th Street. In response to a question it was stated that the pre-K would be an all-day program. Calderon also brought flyers publicizing a June 5 health fair at the Red Hook Rec Center on Bay Street.

Someone asked about a new city plan to spend $2.3 million to renovate Coffey Park, including the creation of a place for outdoor barbecuing. Miss Marshall reminded the audience that years ago there was such a space. Barbara Smith wanted to let all know about the severe need to refurbish the play areas by Columbia Street. Marshall said that the play areas in Coney Island were already being refurbished. Nobody knew when the renovations would begin, but hopefully the summer park activities would not need to be curtailed.

Kendell Monk is the new Director at the Miccio Center.

Kendell Monk is the new Director at the Miccio Center.

People began complaining about specific problems, and Miss Marshall took down notes about all of them. Mice and rats were said to be a problem at 545 and 424 Columbia Street. Someone said that during all the snow removals, benches around some of the houses were broken. Carmen Major and others pointed out the flagpole will fall down if it is not repaired.

Next up was Jessica Colon of the Justice Center. She announced a May 6 job fair, the availability of paid internships, the Friday basketball program at Miccio, signups this Saturday and next for the Youth Baseball League, which will take place at the ballfields across from the Rec Center on Bay Street.

Meet the new Miccio director
A handsomely dressed Kendell Monk got up to speak next. He is the new director of the Miccio Center. In January, Good Shepherd Services won the right to supervise Miccio’s programming. He is bringing many Good Shepherd programs over to Miccio. There will be a free 8 week summer camp from kids aged 6 to 12. He announced the formation of an Advisory Committee for the Miccio. This will be a group composed of local interested parents and residents who will have a say in the running of the Miccio. A meeting is scheduled for April 22 at the Miccio, at which anyone interested in being part of the committee may attend.

Michael Burnett talks youth football.

Michael Burnett talks youth football.

Someone asked why all the programming seemed to be for kids – what about the rest of us? In fact, there are programs for seniors including reggae, zumba and hip hop. These classes are at 7 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, Tuesdays at 6.

Dannelle Johnson spoke briefly pitching her smoking cessation classes. Michael Burnett spoke about a new program he and his partner are starting called Kingz of Brooklyn. This is a football league, They are actively seeking both players and funding, as they are hoping to subsidize the cost of referrees and uniforms for the participants. They are already holding practices at Clinton and Bay a couple of afternoons a week, and a season is scheduled to begin September 1.

Dan Wiley gives a LICH update.

Dan Wiley gives a LICH update.

Finally, Dan Wiley, dressed in a sharp blue suit, came in to give a LICH update. Wiley is the community outreach person for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. He explained that they are watching Governor Cuomo, who he once thought was a Democrat, very closely to see that the communities wishes for a full services hospital at the LICH campus are kept.

The meeting ended with a traditional boxed meal, but just before someone complained about drainage problems at 82 Dwight Street.

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