Rep. Maloney, NYC Planning Dir. Burden Announce Full Funding for Queens Plaza Redevelopment - and Construction to Start in Late 2007
Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan) and NYC Department of City Planning Director Amanda Burden and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall announced that the City has obtained all the funding it needs, including $19.05 million from the federal government, to complete the long-awaited renovation of Queens Plaza. The City of New York will allocate the rest of the funding for the approximately $22 million project. Maloney and Burden also announced that construction on the project is expected to begin in late 2007.
Joining Maloney and Burden at the event were City Councilman Eric Gioia; Gayle Baron, President of the LIC Business Development Corp.; Joseph Conley, Chairperson of Queens Community Board 2; and a representative of Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.
The redevelopment of Queens Plaza will transform the once-blighted area into a welcoming gateway to Long Island City and the Borough of Queens. The Project's principal objective is to beautify Queens Plaza through the creation of a new 1.5-acre, lushly landscaped open space at Queens Plaza East, widened, landscaped medians, and an overall plan for new lighting, tree planting, and directional signs throughout the area. These improvements, which will also reconfigure traffic lanes and include a new, dedicated bike lane, are intended to create a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly environment, thereby reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and encouraging mass transit usage.
"The redevelopment of Queens Plaza will complete the rebirth of Long Island City," said Congresswoman Maloney. "Everywhere you look, exciting new projects are either breaking ground or being completed. The redevelopment will be a huge benefit for businesses, residents and commuters alike. Queens Plaza has become known for rusty elevated tracks, traffic snarls and take-your-life-in-your-hands crosswalks -but all that is about to change. Queens Plaza will soon become the welcoming gateway that the residents of Long Island City deserve."
"I am thrilled to announce an expected ground-breaking next year for our Queens Plaza project to create a magnificent public open space here for residents, employees and visitors for the first time in nearly 100 years," said City Planning Director Burden. "Congresswoman Maloney has been an invaluable partner in helping obtain funding to transform this unwelcoming space into a lush landscape with green space to gather, and improved conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars. This will help Long Island City reach its full potential as one of the great business districts of our city. We expect this transformation to further catalyze reinvestment in this dynamic, transit rich and culturally distinct district that is a key component of the Mayor's five-borough economic development strategy."
"I am thrilled that the redevelopment of Queens Plaza has begun through the efforts of Congresswoman Maloney and Director Burden," said Assemblywoman Nolan. "Long Island City is a great place to live and work, and this major effort will make it even better."
"This is yet another sign that Long Island City is truly in the midst of a renaissance," said Councilman Eric Gioia, who represents Long Island City in the City Council. "With unparalleled views of Manhattan, easy access to public transportation, and an amazing array of cultural institutions, Long Island City is already a great neighborhood. Yet what has happened to date is but a precursor to the improvements yet to come. From recapturing the waterfront to platforming the Sunnyside yards and creating brand new neighborhoods, Long Island City has more potential than anywhere else in this City, and, perhaps, anywhere else in the entire world. I thank Congressmember Maloney and Commissioner Burden for their hard work and dedication to our community, and look forward to working with them for years to come."
Congresswoman Maloney has long recognized the importance of the Queens Plaza redevelopment project for the residents of western Queens. Working with other members of the delegation, Maloney secured $500,000 for the project in FY2003, $750,000 in FY2004, $1 million in FY2005 and $800,000 in FY2006. Additionally, Maloney ensured that another $6.4 million for Queens Plaza (to be delivered over five years) was included in SAFETEA-LU, the federal government's five-year highway capital plan, which was passed in 2005. The additional $9.6 million in federal funds were obtained by the Department of City Planning through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program, part of the federal transportation budget approved by Congress.