The Forest Hills Gardens Foundation has been serving the residents of Forest Hills Gardens for more than a century. Organized in 1909 as the Forest Hills Taxpayers Association, its original purpose was “to promote the common welfare of all persons residing within the vicinity of Forest Hills or Forest Hills Gardens.” During its first decade, the Taxpayers Association lobbied the City of New York and the Sage Foundation Homes Company (which was developing Forest Hills Gardens as a model community) for necessary community services. An important issue on the Association’s agenda during that time was the construction of adequate educational facilities for the community. Other interests were obtaining better trolley and railroad services for the new community, lowering telephone rates, mosquito control, establishment of a post office, reduction of real estate taxes, obtaining a children’s playground, and securing better police and fire protection.
In 1923, when the Sage Foundation deeded the streets, parks, and public areas to the residents, who organized the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation to administer the community and provide its maintenance services, the Taxpayers Association changed its priorities. When Forest Hills Gardens became self-governing, the organization became the Forest Hills Gardens Taxpayers Association and it concerned itself with providing a variety of services to the Forest Hills Gardens community. In 1965 the Association complained to the Long Island Rail Road about the condition of the Forest Hills Station, which resulted in major repairs to the station. In the 1970s, the Association hired counsel and succeeded (along with the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation) in preventing a seven-story apartment building from being inside the Gardens on Markwood Road. In the 1980s, the Association also worked with other civic associations in preventing the construction of a parking garage that the City was planning to build in the heart of the Forest Hills retail district.
One important service provided by the Association has been to inform residents about their yearly real estate tax assessments and to provide the services of an attorney whom they could consult in case they were considering challenging these assessments. In recent years, when the City has been supplying assessment information and when these assessments have been made according to fixed formulas, the Taxpayers Association has turned its interests to supporting community projects. In the early 1990s, the Association contributed to the restoration of the base of the flagpole on The Green and to the publication of Forest Hills Gardens magazine, which all residents received. Later in the decade, the Association made a significant contribution to the restoration of Station Square. More recently it has contributed to projects for the preservation and maintenance of Forest Hills Gardens.
As of 2018, the organization was renamed the Forest Hills Gardens Foundation. The name change was made to reflect our current mission of digitally preserving the history of the community we love.