Jackson Heights area seeks place amid boro expansion

By James DeWeese

Arturo Sanchez, an urban planning professor at LaGuardia Community College and a member of Jackson Heights-based CB 3, said the two-year program will have students canvassing commercial corridors along Roosevelt and 37th avenues, as well as Northern Boulevard starting in March. Students will be collecting data on the size and type of commercial enterprises, ownership patterns and even the ethnicity of business operators as part of the project that will give planners an unprecedented peek into the fabric of the area's business communities.”There are basically two planning anchors that encase Community Board 3,” Sanchez said, referring to city development efforts in Long Island City and Flushing. “In effect, what we will be looking at will be looked at in the context of both of these poles.”The mapping project will help planners and civic organizations better prepare for the area's economic future, in part by helping gauge the effects of other developments in Long Island City and Flushing. The project builds on recent planing studies, including a comprehensive look at Corona Plaza released last year and a 74th Street design studio whose results are slated to be released soon, said Sanchez, who unveiled the initiative at Community Board 3's monthly meeting last Thursday.The first phase of the mapping project will cover stretches on the three arteries from 69th to 82nd streets. Phase two will take the students to businesses from 82nd Street to Junction Boulevard. Phase Three will go from Junction Boulevard to 114th Street. And Phase Four will concentrate on crunching the numbers in relation to economic and labor data.The new mapping study, which is being financed by an $8,000 grant from City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona), could not have come at a better time, said Community Board 3 Chairman Richard Cecere, who has been an active proponent of this collaborative effort and previous studies.”The Queens rezoning project is taking place,” Cecere said. “It all ties in with what's going on in the borough. It all falls into place with what the borough president, Ms. Marshall, is working on with the tourism.”Sanchez and Cecere also encouraged board members to become involved in the project as an opportunity to learn more about the technology and procedures used in assembling the maps.Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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