Downtown Jamaica gets $10 million boon to ‘revitalize’ the entire neighborhood

File photo/QNS

As Jamaica continues to grow with initiatives like the Jamaica Now Action Plan, seven projects from the neighborhood will receive their share of the state’s $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) to further transform Jamaica.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the project winners, which will receive a total of $10 million that will go toward revitalizing downtown Jamaica, modernizing infrastructure, and bolstering Queens’ economy by working in conjunction with state agencies and the Regional Economic Development Council.

“This critical investment in Jamaica’s downtown will help it grow into a major economic hub that boosts small businesses, expands economic opportunity for residents, and draws new residents and visitors to the community,” Cuomo said. “These projects will help transform downtown Jamaica into a bustling neighborhood, spurring economic development and creating a brighter future for residents and workers across the great borough of Queens.”

The winning projects are as follows:

  • Greater Jamaica Development Corporation Co-Working Space: Funds will help create a 10,000-square-foot shared work space for up to 90 local entrepreneurs and independent professionals at the Moda Building, run by Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC). The space will provide an affordable, flexible work space and access to business equipment and services for startup companies, freelancers and others.
  • Bring High-Speed Broadband to Downtown Jamaica: This will boost Jamaica’s broadband infrastructure to support high-speed service to existing businesses as well as the public. The project will bridge two gaps in the conduit pathway so that new lines are able to be run to Jamaica, providing needed capacity and allowing for the installation of fixed wireless hubs to support Wi-Fi based broadband connectivity and a broadband market.
  • Conversion of Archer Archways – 159th Street into a Public Space: This project will create a public space around the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) underpass at 159th Street. Improvements will include overhead lighting, public art space, seating and event space.
  • Downtown Jamaica Gateway Improvements: Jamaica Center will be transformed into a downtown gateway with pedestrian space, lighting and streetscape improvements and enhanced pedestrian space on Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica and Archer avenues.
  • Fund for Dining Options Downtown: Funds to improve the dining options and nightlife activity in the downtown area by establishing a Restaurant Startup Fund as well as an incubator space for new food businesses at the Jamaica Market.
  • Prime Skills Entrepreneurship Fund: Expand the Prime Skills program, an entrepreneurship training program that helps low-income Jamaica residents launch or grow businesses. Funding will support two additional program cohorts, expand mentorship and support to previous program graduates, and provide a fund to purchase equipment for program graduates.
  • Career Prep at Edison High School: Funds will help enhance the Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School’s nationally recognized Career and Technical Education programs by purchasing new equipment and software that will enable the programs to ensure graduates are job-ready for employment in the tech, design and health care sectors.

“Everyone has long recognized Jamaica’s inherent potential for smart growth, and the seven winning projects selected under Governor Cuomo’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative are critical to Downtown Jamaica’s economic growth and development,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This is a concerted, strategic investment toward revitalizing Jamaica’s downtown core by enhancing education, entrepreneurship and public space. The selected projects are also consistent with the vision of the holistic and comprehensive Jamaica NOW Action Plan underway, and will make the area even more attractive to residents, businesses and investors.”