From the Daily News:
A DEVASTATING blackout that hit western Queens could be the spark to energize a green oasis under a proposal to build a unique community garden.
Astoria-based Cidadao Global wants to build a garden on property that also would double as a community center for recent immigrants. It would be funded by a chunk of a $7.9 million initiative that came out of a settlement with Con Edison after the 2006 power outage.
"There's nothing like it in Queens," said Ramona Ortega, founder of the nonprofit group - one of many submitting proposals to get a piece of the settlement for "greening" projects.
"It would be a garden space where many organizations can share the immigrant experience," she said of the project, which she estimates would cost $500,000 during the next three to four years.
Cidadao Global, which serves mostly Brazilian immigrants, will submit its proposal to the Greening Western Queens Fund next month. That fund will be used for projects to benefit Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside and Astoria, which were affected by the 2006 blackout.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance," said Ortega, 35, who wants to create a garden run with the cooperation of different immigrant groups in the neighborhood.
Ortega said she hopes the garden will connect diverse groups in the neighborhood.
The need for this kind of center is very real, immigrant advocates said, pointing to blighted properties and a general lack of open areas.