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Group focuses on City Islands’s quality of life concerns

A group on City Island has organzed with the goal of improving the quality of life for those who reside on and visit the island community. So far, the group called, Take Back Our Island, has people talking, but their mission is much the same as the City Island Civic Association.

The group was formed by islander Ann Caso after considerable amounts of noise, theft and other disruptions were reported when police could not access the island due to a fire on the City Island Bridge over Memorial Day weekend.

The fire was caused by a traffic accident that left one person dead. In four hours in the early morning of Sunday, May 31, Caso said that a group of stranded visitors began throwing debris at her house and threatening her after she asked them to turn their cars’ radio down. The visitors to the island were waiting to leave and became agitated, she said.

Caso said she has begun visiting restaurants and other establishments on the island with the hopes of forming a dialogue with them. She said that she has a number of very concrete ideas that she believes will help City Island’s visitors to better enjoy the island, and at the same time keep residents safe.

“We want D.W.I. laws to be enforced with traffic stops up to 2 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the summer,” Caso said.

“We also want increased police presence throughout the course of the entire year in order to quicken response time to the island. We cannot wait 20 minutes for a police car to respond to an emergency.”

Caso said that she was most angered by the fact that there was no police presence on the island during the night of the bridge accident.

Several witnesses from the island said that some looting occurred at a gas station mini mart, and that some people left restaurants without paying their bills.

City Island Civic Association president Bill Stanton said that he has met with representatives from Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, and the N.Y.P.D. in the past few weeks. He said that he would like to see community affairs officers on the island during summer weekends to help make for visits and a safe time for those residing in the nautical community.

“We always welcome people who want to come to City Island to enjoy the ambiance,” Stanton said.

“I applaud the 45th Precinct for getting the job done when it comes to traffic control since the accident. Community affairs officers should have a passion. It should not just be a detail. They should get to know us, and the personalities on City Island: the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

Stanton referenced retired 45th Precinct Community Affairs officer Mike O’Conner as a model, saying that he went out of his way to meet members of the community, and even gave out his personal cell phone number to community leaders.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com.

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