District 24
South Flushing, Jamaica Hills, Briarwood, Forest Hills

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District 24 - James Gennaro
185-10 Union Tpk, Queens 11366
City Hall: (212) 788-6956
District: (718) 217-4969
Fax: (718) 217-4968

Committee Assignments:
Environmental Protection, Chair
Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse & Disability Services, member
Sanitation & Solid Waste Management, member
Youth Services, member

Protecting the City's Water Supply

One of the most pressing environmental issues for New York City is our water.

We are currently under a "Stage One Drought Emergency." The city has shut off public fountains, restricted car washing and watering of lawns, and instructed restaurants to only serve water if a customer requests it. There are also steep fines for violating the rules -- the minimum fine for a first time offense is $250. I know that the Department of Environmental Protection has also been enforcing the restrictions because people have been calling my office to complain.

The bottom line is that New York has to conserve water. Thankfully the word about the drought is getting out and our efforts are working.

We also need to find other sources of water. The city has done this by doubling the amount of water we get from the Croton water system. However, I oppose the city's plan to draw significantly more water from the Jamaica ground water supply wells in Queens.

For the past ten years, the city has been systematically shutting down the Jamaica wells because the water is of lower quality than the water we get from upstate. Most of the water is biologically safe, but there are issues with the color, odor, taste, and sediment. We currently get about 10 million gallons a day from this supply.

The city has proposed drawing about four times the current amount from these wells and spending more money to filter it. I have said "no." The City Council has approved a small increase in the amount we get from these wells because of the emergency, but any large increase would be a step in the wrong direction.

The bottom line for ensuring the city's water supply now and in the future is to maintain the pristine water quality of the Catskill-Delaware system where the city gets 90 percent of our water. Currently the water from the Catskill-Delaware reservoirs is clean enough that New York does not have to filter.

However, development around the lakes, sewage that leaks into the rivers and pollutants threatens the purity of the water. If the federal government finds that it needs filtering, it would cost the city $8 billions to build the required facilities and $500 million a year to operate them. That is big money that the city can not afford.

Instead the city and state must act to protect the water at the source by buying land around the reservoirs, limiting development, upgrading septic systems and sewage treatment plants in the area, and protecting our wetlands.

Since 1990, I have been an environmental policy analyst for the City Council. Now as a council member and the chair of environmental committee, I bear the responsibility of ensuring that our water remains clean. I have already worked with Bobby Kennedy, Jr. and environmental groups to make sure that the quality of our water supply does not go down. I am holding a City Council hearing on June 21 to address this issue.

I am not going to let the watershed get polluted on my watch.

Other issues that I will address in the City Council's environmental committee in the coming months include working to clean up and develop the more than 5,000 contaminated properties around the city known as "brownfields." Brownfields are abandoned pieces of land that are polluted and vacant. It is difficult for developers to buy the property because the current laws require that the owner who buys it must pay to clean it up. Government needs to partner with private industry and assume some of the clean up costs for these sites and make them productive and get them back on the tax roles. We need legislation in Albany that will help the city move toward reclaiming these polluted areas.

We also have to do something about the toxic spill sites through out the city. I am a prime sponsor of legislation (Intro 47) that will create a registry of the contaminated sites throughout the city so the public knows where they are and the risks involved and what the city is doing to regulate and clean them up.

I also want to get more of the city's vehicles to run on alternative fuels. The technology for running cars and trucks on natural gas has greatly improved. This would mandate that the city purchases more alternative fuel vehicles. In 1991, I helped draft legislation required the city to start buying vehicles that used other fuels, but we have to continually revise the laws to keep up with technology.

Posted June 3, 2002. Based on an interview with Councilmember Gennaro.

Community Boards for District 24
Community Board No. 6
73-05 Yellowstone Blvd., Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 263-9250 Mr. Joseph Hennessy, Chair
Ms. Kathleen H. Reilly, District Manager
Community Board No. 7
45-35 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 359-2800
Mr. Eugene T. Kelty, Jr., Chair
Ms. Marilyn Bitterman, District Manager
Community Board No. 8
81-26 150th St., Jamaica, NY 11435
(718) 591-6000
Mr. Alvin Warshaviak, Chair
Ms. Diane Cohen, District Manager
Community Board No. 9
Queens Borough Hall
120-55 Queens Blvd., Rm. 310A, Kew Gardens, NY 11424
(718) 286-2686
Mr. Paul Sapienza, Chair
Ms. Mary Ann Carey, District Manager
Community Board No. 12
90-28 161st St., Jamaica, NY 11432
(718) 658-3308
Mr. James Davis, Chair
Ms. Yvonne Reddick, District Manager

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

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Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)