City will renovate streets in Flushing close to river

By Cynthia Koons

In Lippmann Arcade, an outdoor plaza from 39th to Roosevelt avenues in the heart of downtown Flushing, Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) joined prominent local politicians and business leaders to announce the city's contribution to the upgrading of 37th and 39th avenues.

Those streets were selected, he said, because of their access to the Flushing River, which is an integral part of the redevelopment plans for the downtown area.

“This $5 million project will help raise the profile, raise the standards for downtown Flushing,” he said at the press conference. Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, who has been involved in the plans for redeveloping downtown Flushing, contributed $20,000 to the BID for assisting with the operating costs, which could add up to $8,000 a year.

The Flushing Business Improvement District was approved in August 2003 by the City Council.

Since then, city planners have established a development framework for downtown Flushing, emphasizing the cleaup of Flushing River and the subsequent development toward the waterway.

“First we had the Flushing improvement district,” state Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik (D-Flushing) said. “Now we're going to have new sidewalks, new lampposts and new trees.”

Included in the plans are historic signs indicating landmarks in the vicinity of the downtown, distinctive street lampposts, a mural in Lippmann Arcade and new sitting areas.

“It's just another example of what we describe as the renaissance of Flushing,” Grodenchik said.

The BID will maintain the streetscape improvements with the money from Doctoroff's contribution and other funds as years progress.

The BID's globe logo will also be prominently displayed on the additions to downtown. Currently, the logo can be seen on the back of sanitation workers' uniforms in downtown Flushing.

Queens Director of City Planning John Young said residents can expect construction by the summer months.

Said Liu: “I plan to push for this project to at least get started by June or July.”

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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