Column: Eighteen highlights from my first year as District 18’s council member

Councilmember Amanda Farías hands out supplies to her constituents.
Photo courtesy Courtney Curd

1. Bringing $14.375 million in Capital and $3.014 million in Discretionary Funding to CD18. Council Members get a minimum of $5 million in capital and $735,000 in discretionary. I worked diligently to increase our local investments through advocacy and negotiations with the City Council Speaker.

2. Providing more than 1,500 turkeys. This Thanksgiving my office hosted turkey and fresh produce giveaways for families around our community and gave away more than 1,500 turkeys.

3. Distributing 2,500 backpacks to students. My office hosted back to school giveaways distributing more than 2,500 backpacks and supplies to students across CD18.

4. Hosting the first annual Fall Festival and new family-friendly events. I hosted a fall festival with fun activities and important resources at Soundview Park for more than 500 families. I also hosted community events like a skate party, shredding events and more that brought people back outside.

5. Investing $100,000 in community safety. I funded housing support, youth programs to create more opportunity, and more that will work in coordination with the local precinct to help reduce crime long and short term while strengthening our communities.

6. Hosting Summer Movie Nights. My office partnered with NYC Parks to host a series of “Movies Under The Stars” to bring movies back to our community.

7. Funding organizations like Publicolor, BioBus and Ballroom Basix to ensure school’s had Cultural, Arts & STEM options. I dedicated nearly 30% of my discretionary budget directly to youth programming. Whether it’s a music, science or arts program, extracurriculars are critical to holistic development.

8. Renaming Capt. William Harry Thompson Playground. After 10 years of community advocacy, I worked with NYC Parks to expedite a playground renaming after Capt. William Harry Thompson, a Bronx River Houses native, to honor his legacy and his sacrifice on Sept. 11.

9. Launching the first year of Participatory Budgeting. More than 900 community members voted in our first of its kind Participatory Budgeting vote week, and I am happy to say that my office funded all the final projects.

10. Kicking off the e-scooter Pilot Program with bike lane rollouts. With no bike share options in CD18, the launch of the e-scooter pilot was critical to helping us travel with ease and agency. I advocated for additional bike lanes in Soundview and held free helmet giveaways to make sure this roll out was safe for riders.

11. Assisting with household storm resiliency. It was great to see people take advantage of the opportunity for a free rain barrel to keep our sewers clean and free storm barriers to protect their homes from flooding.

12. Establishing the Castle Hill BID. The Castle Hill BID was officially established in April of this year after many years of advocacy. It is the first business improvement district in CD18.

13. Restoring the Mechler Hall Senior Center. Holy Family’s Mechler Hall had their grand re-opening and is ready to serve our seniors. I was able to fully fund the center with $160,000 from my budget after years of divestment.

14. Passing the NYC Abortion Rights Act. I am proud to lead the New York City Council’s Women’s Caucus. We worked together with Mayor Adams to ensure that anyone in NYC can access an abortion with safety protections in place.

15. Mitigating Legionnaires with NYCHA. After Clason Point Gardens had positive cases of legionnaires, I worked with NYCHA to procure shower hose replacements to impacted units. A simple solution that was a preventative measure aided in averting additional cases.

16. Funding two new sanitation teams to keep our neighborhoods cleaner. I invested in increasing sanitation services and now our ACE and Wildcats teams are out weekly cleaning up our neighborhoods.

17. Advocating for NYC students to have half-priced ferry tickets. I introduced legislation that would provide NYC students 18 and younger with half priced tickets for the NYC Ferry. Our students deserve every option that our city has to offer.

18. Getting to be your council member. I am proud to represent the community that raised me and I thank you for your continued engagement. I look forward to continuing to push for and make tangible investments to improve quality of life in CD18.

Amanda Farías is the councilmember for the 18th District, representing parts of Castle Hill, Clason Point, Harding Park, Parkchester, Shorehaven and Soundview. To read her previous column, click here.