bring Tryingto green alittle toWhitestone

e at the Malba Gardens Civic Girls Club, Whitestone CYO, DAC AthletAssciciation have been work- ic CIub, and the Auburndale Soccer and int' on several projects since Sports league. These local leaguesrepreour reactivation several Years sent thousands of families within the community that would benelit from this acquiago. The first project was getting Fifth Ave., a sition. Many residents have expressed excitedangerous block in our communit5t, converted into a one-waywe$tbound street,in ment over the prospect of finally getting order to prevent cars, trucks and other something back for the children of the comcommercial vehicles from speedingdown munity. We have received hundreds of a residentialstreetand using it asa conduit emails in support of our efforts. Many residents in our communitSt grew up in the intoWhitestone. The second involved the local park. neighborhood and decided to stay,raising Francis Lewis Park did not have any cross- their families iq the same neighborhood they gre-wup in, the walks or traffrc-consame neighborhood trol devices, which theylove. made entering and Instead of moving exiiting the park exoutto Long Island or tremely dangerous they Westchester, foryoungfamilies, as choseto stay,only to well as the children watch their neighthat frequent the borhood become increasingly overdevelp*k. Yet one project that has received enor- op."d. when the CYO Many rememberthe daYs mous support from the community is our offered youngstersthe opportunity to pareffort to purchase six remaining acres that sports, swim in its once belongedto the Catholic Youth Orga- ticipate in organized pool, and participate in its camp programs. oncehouseda comnization. Thii properlry Many parents volunteered and/or had munity pool and other child-friendly facilijobs atthe CYO.This is an opporor- theirfirst ties, such as a day camp complete with tunity to give back to the community a ganized sports programs. It was sold to a sense.of neighborhood, while gMng our developer who built a few hundred new children a much neededvenue to get out in homes.The remaining lot is the result of a thefreshair. down real estatemarket. We envision a community-basedfacility In 2008, seeinga possibleopportunity, I that includes parking, in an effort to allevifloated the idea to some of our members. ate parking problems for surrounding The idea was well liked and we began in- neighbors during the games,and that the quiring about the property and how to go children of the community can enjoy for about acquiring it. State Sen.Tony Avella generationsto come. heard ofour idea and reachedoutto us, ofWe hope to bring back green spaceto a feringhishelp. community that once had plenty and now Our idea is to acquire the remaining finds itselflacking. greenspaceand give itback to the children With the help of our community, Iocal of the community. We envision Little electedofficials and possibly some outside League baseball, T-ball, softball, soccer, sponsorships, this lastpiece of greenspace football and lacrossefields, an all-weather willbeback inthe hands of the community running track as well as on-site parking, a forourchildren. clubhouse and a possible concession To seethe look on a child's face when he stand. or sheis part of a team is priceless. All this would give back to the youth of The Malba Gardens CMc Association is the community something that was taken a small civic association within the conaway. It would provide an outlet an$ get fines of a small working-class community children out there running around and pro- in Whitestone, Queeni. Our focus is to enand secure.environment for the moting healthful living, along with the in- sure a sa.fe valuable lessonslearnedwhen one partici- families of the community. patesin organizedsports.Itwould alsoproIfyou have any comments and/or sugvide volunteer and employment opportuni- gestions, please email, or visit our blog at: ties. Several local sports leagueshave con- tacted us and expressed support for the Alftedo Centola is the presidentof the M al' ciation. project. Among.them are D&G Boys and ba GardensCiaic Asso

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