Long Island City will receive $180 million from the city for development projects, the de Blasio administration announced Oct. 30.
The funds are a part of the Long Island City Investment Strategy, a new effort to bring improvements to a variety of areas in the quickly growing neighborhood. The city has identified seven areas of focus as part of the plan: housing, transportation, infrastructure, education, jobs, open space and arts and culture.
“We are investing $180 million in Long Island City to address the needs of today while preparing for a more sustainable future,” de Blasio said.
According to press release from the mayor’s office, the strategy comes after three years of city agency work led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and a community outreach process that began in 2015 under the Long Island City Core Neighborhood Plan effort, a zoning study that researched potential areas of need and development sites in the neighborhood.
In June of this year, the de Blasio administration, joined by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, took part in a series of listening sessions with local civic leaders, who pointed out community areas of concerns and related community needs. These sessions influenced in the outline of the strategy.
A document outlining the strategy — including fund allocations — can be found online on the LIC Investment Strategy website, which went live on Tuesday and details goals and future plans for each of the the seven areas of focus. The website hosts a suggestions page in order for community members to provide feedback on the proposed plans.
Although there has been community pushback against more development in the fastest growing neighborhood in the nation, a lot more development is set to come.
Long Island City has 6.6 million square feet of commercial space, 5 million square feet designated for future commercial use and 1.6 million square feet set to be added.
Part of the new city money will be used to increase space and support for current and future businesses by “exploring relocation of city uses to create opportunities for new commercial and industrial space,” supporting industrial business growth through International Development Association (IDA) funding, working with Amtrak and MTA to create new space and jobs around Sunnyside Yard, a major railway yard that was the topic of a recent public meeting hosted by the EDC.
The strategy will also work to connect LIC residents with job opportunities by expanding access to work training in fields such as the life sciences, manufacturing and tech.
The city and the EDC plan on creating more affordable housing in the LIC area and to “encouraging developers to incorporate deeply affordable housing in private developments.” Both entities state that they will identify pipeline sites and make repairs and improve infrastructure to two established affordable housing units, Queensbridge House and Ravenswood Houses and support l0w and moderate-income homeowners with home repairs through HomeFix, a city program that fund home repairs.
The city references its plan to complete Hunters Point South in the investment outline. Out of the total number of apartments in Hunters Point South, 60 percent will be affordable units for low and moderate-income families.
The city and EDC plan on using $10 million of the fund to improve transportation, something that has been a complaint among LIC and neighboring residents as development continues to increase. Funds will be allocated toward the Department of Transportation’s LIC/Hunters Point Area-wide Street Infrastructure Project, upgrading signal systems on the E, F and 7 lines, a pilot B32 electric bus and upgrades to the Queensboro Plaza station.
A total of $95 million will be used for a first phase of sewer upgrades and a complete LIC-amended drainage plan (ADP), developing green infrastructure to protect Newtown Creek, reconstruct bulkheads and 44th Drive pier, resiliency improvements for FDNY Engine Company 260, updating building codes, new flood resilient zoning rules and increasing outreach for Business PREP emergency preparedness grants for small businesses.
As for parks and open space, $15 million will be spent on improving Baby Queensbridge Park, Old Hickory Playground, Bridge & Tunnel Park and Court Square. Queensbridge Houses play areas and basketball courts at Ravenswood Houses are also set to receive improvements.
The city plans on creating new public open space under the ramps at Dutch Kills Street and encourage private investment in the creation of new open space. In the investment plan the city states that they will continue explore for new locations of public open space and improve existing spaces.
Long Island City should expect to see several new schools pop up in the neighborhood, since $60 million of the $180 million is going to be used for the construction of new schools in the LIC Innovation Center, Anable Basin and Court Square neighborhood within School District 30. The city will also use funds to continue to work with parents and stakeholders at CEC 30 and SCA to check on school use and need. The city will also keep working on identifying potential new school sites.
Finally, the city plans on improve the neighborhoods’ art and culture scene by creating at least 35 new workspace units for artists and strengthening youth and community development programs through increased marketing. The city stated they want to explore ways to increase public art and programming in order to develop a unique Long Island City identity.