Queens Community House reopens Forest Hills community center after massive renovation – QNS.com

Queens Community House (QCH)one of the borough’s largest community organizations, hosted over 200 people at the grand reopening of the Forest Hills Community Center on November 5th.

Last year, QCH purchased the building that served as the original administrative headquarters, then gave it a massive renovation. The entire project cost over $15 million, which was provided by government grants and private funders.

“The purchase of the center gave us the opportunity to undertake a major renovation to modernize the infrastructure of the building, add lounges, boardrooms and spaces for intergenerational activities and make the whole building more open. and accessible,” said QCH chief executive Ben Thomases. “Upgrading and adding these program spaces is critical to meeting the needs of the communities QCH serves throughout the Borough of Queens.”

The Forest Hills Community Center, located at 108-25 62nd Dr., provides housing and family support services and contains both a senior center and a teen center. QCH offers a range of programs, including English classes, after-school programs and youth leadership programs. QCH is currently raising an additional $500,000 to complete the final phase of the renovation project.

QCH co-hosted a city-wide participatory budgeting idea generation session at Queens Borough Hall. (Photo by Adrian Childress)

“The renovation of the Forest Hills Community Center is generating a lot of excitement and excitement among the seniors at the Forest Hills Senior Center and the community,” said Toolarie Iqbal, QCH Director of the Senior Center of Forest Hills. Forest Hills and natural retreat. Community (NORC). “Accessibility has been an issue for our downtown neighbors, especially seniors. The renovated space will have an elevator, ADA-compliant doors, and upgraded walkways, making it much easier to navigate and navigate. connection with our various programs The multitude of services that are offered on this site to seniors and the community at large will continue to be a tremendous asset to everyone.

As the community anchor of the NYC Civic Engagement Commission’s (CEC) citywide participatory budgeting process, QCH has hosted “idea generation sessions” over the past two months where New Yorkers ages 11 and older can help decide how to spend $5 million in fundraising. QCH co-hosted a session with Queens Borough President Donovan Richards at the Helen Marshall Cultural Center in Borough Hall.

(Photo by Adrian Childress)

QCH participants suggested free and accessible arts and music programs in Queens public schools, another emphasizes public safety.

“We need to feel safe on the streets at night,” said the participant. “There is no public lighting in my neighborhood.”

Another suggested better access to physical and mental health services. The projects will be developed into voting proposals, which will then be voted on by the residents of each borough. The winning projects will then be implemented from July 2023.

“This participatory democracy helps further QCH’s mission to build healthy and inclusive communities,” said Thomases. “When ordinary members of the community have a say in how their tax dollars are spent, everyone benefits.”

Jill E. Washington