On April 29, 2012 the Queens Civic Congress, an umbrella organization for over 100 civic groups, honored Juniper Park Civic Association president Robert Holden at their annual luncheon at Antun’s. Holden was honored with a lifetime achievement award along with Jackie Forrestal, Past President, Hillcrest Estates Civic Association; Robert Friedrich, President, Glen Oaks Village Owners and Paul Graziano, Principal, Associated Cultural Resource Consultants.
Holden has been president of the JPCA for 20 years and has overseen the growth of the association and molded into one of the leading civic groups in New York State. Under his tenure, Holden, a graphic designer, built the all-volunteer Juniper Berry newsletter into an 80-page color glossy magazine that many consider the top civic publication in the nation. The civic group is known for its veracity on a host of issues while the JPCA has a host of accomplishments under Holden’s leadership. Perhaps his biggest accomplishments was leading the fight against commercial development of the Elmhurst Gas Tanks site. The JPCA fought and won the battle to make the site a 6.5 acre park.
Holden’s other accomplishments included changing the zip code of the area formerly known as Elmhurst, north of the Eliot Avenue and south of the LIE to Middle Village back in 2002. JPCA also convinced Mayor Bloomberg to pull his support of the Cross Harbor Tunnel and successfully rescued the last Maspeth landmark, the 1847 Carpenter Gothic style building, St. Saviour’s from demolition.
In addition to receiving the Civic Award from the QCC, Robert Holden received separate awards from Congressman Bob Turner, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Councilman Dan Halloran, Councilman Eric Ulrich, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr, State Senator Malcolm Smith, State Assemblyman David Weprin, and a Legislation Proclamation from State Senator Tony Avella.
Although present at the awards ceremony, Middle Village Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley did not present a proclamation to Holden, a move that surprised many in the Queens Civic Congress but not Holden and the 9 other representatives of the JPCA. In giving his acceptance speech Holden jokingly remarked that he was sorry that Elizabeth Crowley didn’t stick around to join in the festivities. Holden of course has been an outspoken critic of Crowley’s performance in representing the 30th Council District.