Port Authority executives, U.S. Congressman Meeks, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYS Assembly members, Community Board members, community leaders and stakeholders were on hand for the ribbon cutting of the new JFK Redevelopment Community Outreach office on Jamaica Avenue.
The office was created to involve the community during development of the $13 billion JFK Airport Redevelopment project. It is open to the public and intended to be focal point for Queens residents’ jobs and career opportunities with a high percentage directed to MWBE businesses. According to Governor Cuomo, “The new Queens outreach office at JFK will engage with local residents and connect them with jobs and opportunities, ensuring the local community is heard and its needs are met every step of the way throughout this historic redevelopment project.”
Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley Lawrence referred to the Governor’s recent announcement that over half the recent hires at the developing LaGuardia Airport are from Queens. “Most important thing to remember is that we mean business when we say we want to connect with the community. I look forward to a lot of great news from the office in the near future.”
Congressman Meeks inspired the guests with a resounding appreciation for all the work everyone has done to create this Center. “This is indeed a good day” pointing to all the work done mainly by minority contractors. He emphasized, “We are helping to build bridges around our airports, not building any walls.”
He continued by saying, “This is part of the community and the community helped put it together. We are setting the example how you do a project and how community is intricately involved every step of the way. Often money from a project goes out; here it will stay in.”
Meeks pointed out the ever increasing support of collaboration between the Port Authority and the community. He said, “From the early efforts by Jim Heyliger and Philippa Karteron when working with the Port and bringing in community benefits when the Airtrain project was first conceived. Now, going forward the community residents are the first to get opportunities of benefits from a project like this. We are now able to build upon this cooperation today. We will show the country that inclusion and economy benefits go to all. “ Added Meeks, “The Outreach team in this office understands the community and the mission.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Co-Chair of the JFK Redevelopment Advisory Committee reflected on the success of the Airtrain. and thanked the work Meeks does in Washington on Queens’s behalf. “ We’ve done this not only with colleagues but with the community also through the advisory council, “Such a clear opportunity , that the flow of business that will a stream with new employment. We are proud of the fact we are working together with the community, giving second chances, training, and apprentice programs.”
The Office is located at 144-33 Jamaica Avenue and will be open daily to the public, 9am-5pm, M-F.