By Patrick Donachie
NYCHA’s South Jamaica II Houses in Jamaica are benefitting from more than 12,000 square feet of new sidewalks, approximately 530 feet of new curbing and upgraded pedestrian ramps at three intersections. The newly completed project is part of a $3 million investment from the city to repair damaged sidewalks outside NYCHA properties, according to the city Department of Transportation.
Representatives from the DOT as well as Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) and state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) were on hand to celebrate the completion of the project, which began in November. Elected and DOT officials posed with shovels near the corner of 160th Avenue and 108th Street, pouring the last mounds of top soil into a tree pit.
“With several houses of worship and schools, it’s easy to see why these infrastructure improvements are so important to the community,” DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said. “It definitely uplifts and brings vibrancy back to the community.”
Garcia said the sidewalk repairs targeted some of the areas of the South Jamaica II Houses most in need of substantial refurbishment. The new curbing was important for drainage and the three pedestrian ramps were all ADA-compliant, she said. Wills said he was happy to see the repairs completed before the coming winter, saying the new sidewalks would make it easier for city workers to remove snow in an efficient and speedy manner.
“This is actually going to go a long way in making sure residents move around safely,” Wills said during the ceremony, adding that the pedestrian ramps would help community members who used wheelchairs. “This enables them to go back and forth where they live and have a greater quality of life.”
South Jamaica Houses is home to more than 2,380 residents, according to the DOT. The department noted the city has repaired sidewalks on 13 separate NYCHA properties this year, including Melrose Houses in the Bronx and Tompkins Houses in Brooklyn. In addition to the $3 million for NYCHA sidewalk repairs, the city has pledged to more than double its annual investment in citywide sidewalk repair from $20 million to $46 million. Comrie said he was happy to see some of that investment in the area.
“South Jamaica’s a diamond in the rough that we need to continue to polish to make sure they’re treated with respect,” he said.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona