QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to questions about the city’s plan to build a pre-K school at the New York Hall of Science, which was approved by the state legislature in June 2017 and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo last night:

“The city received the necessary legal approval from the state legislature to utilize the public parkland in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which currently houses the New York Hall of Science due to a similar alienation granted decades ago. Proceeding otherwise would have set a dangerous precedent. The use of public parkland must go through the proper channels – even by the City of New York. The action effectively creates hundreds of new pre-K seats with STEM curriculum, and it was critical to follow the proper procedures of the public trust doctrine in the interest of protecting public parkland from unfettered development. Thanks to the leadership of our state legislators, this is now a prime example of how the process can work. Queens looks forward to the groundbreaking of a brand new, state-of-the-art pre-K school at the Hall of Science.”

In April, Borough President Katz urged the city to seek the necessary approval from the state legislature pursuant to the Public Trust Doctrine, which establishes that parks and other natural resources should be preserved for public enjoyment and that alienation of parkland must be authorized by the New York State legislature.

Follow Borough President Katz via @melindakatz or www.facebook.com/queensbpkatz