As much as we support the effort to redevelop Willets Point, we are pleased to see Community Board 7 is not about to let the city transfer the problem to College Point. CB 7 made it clear earlier this month that it would not give the city Economic Development Corp. blanket approval to relocate five of the companies to the College Point Corporate Park.
The city will have accomplished nothing if it merely recreates the mess that is now Willets Point a few miles to the northeast.
In return for accepting the relocated businesses, CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty wants the long abandoned Flushing Airport transformed into parkland and soft recreation areas. It is the city’s contention that these businesses are not suitable for the business and recreation area that will border Citi Field, the Mets’ new home. But the College Point Corporate Park lines a community that has experienced tremendous growth over the last 10 years. The residents of College Point need to be respected.
The incoming companies — Feinstein Ironworks, Flushing Towing, Met Metals, T. Mina Supply Co. and Sambucci Bros. Auto Salvage — must do business in a way that is suitable for a corporate park.
That said, we hope CB 7 and the city can cut a deal. Flushing Airport has been wasted space for too long. The hope is to find a developer who can put between $50 million and $75 million toward a recreation facility that could include baseball fields, a driving range, an education center and nature trails.
Preserving this area for public use will be a worthwhile investment in College Point and Queens.