Community group launches outreach program for future of the LIC waterfront in absence of Amazon HQ2 campus

Courtesy of Governor's office

Nearly one year after Amazon announced it would build its HQ2 campus along the Long Island City waterfront, before scuttling the deal six months later after the “lack of collaborative relationships with state and local officials,” a public engagement process for the future of the 28 acres of land around Anable Basin has been framed.

Your LIC announced the launch of its outreach program with an online engagement and four public workshops will be held over the next few months to gauge the community’s priorities for waterfront development from community resources including schools, recreation and culture to comprehensive neighborhood planning including infrastructure, housing and mobility.

“Creating a vision for a great community starts with shared goals. We’re excited to bring LIC together to start talking,” said Dr. Gail Mellow, Community and Workforce Development Advisor to Your LIC. “This is an opportunity for all of Long Island City. We want to engage everyone in the community. Since many people cannot attend a workshop in person, our online activities are designed to engage the broadest group of residents possible.”

Mellow, the former president at LaGuardia Community College, had been named by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to co-chair the workforce subcommittee for the Community Advisory Committee, with Urban Upbound co-founder Bishop Mitchell Taylor, soon after Amazon chose Long Island City in a nationwide sweepstakes. The e-commerce giant vowed to create 25,000 good-paying jobs over 10 years, with a plan to grow to 40,000 over 15 years.

“This is an inclusive, community-led process that puts Long Island City residents needs front and center,” Taylor said. “It is important for everyone in Long Island City to get involved and have their voices heard, either online or at one of our public workshops.”

The online engagement will run from Nov. 19 through Nov. 23, and the first workshop will be 6 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the Jacob Riis Settlement, located at 1025 41st Ave. in Long Island City. Other online engagement activities will precede each of the public workshops planned for the next few months.

The first workshop will include discussions on topics such as empowering area entrepreneurs, including M/WBEs, training to build careers in high-growth sectors, and access to supportive resources to overcome barriers to employment and enable individuals to advance professionally.

“This is a completely new approach to planning and engagement,” Simon Baron Development President Matthew Baron said. “If you aren’t able to join us in person, you can seamlessly join the conversation about the future of your community online. We look forward to working with all residents, businesses, and stakeholders for years to come.”

Over the summer, the City Council gathered stakeholders with property at the proposed Amazon HQ2 campus to create a unified planning approach for the future of the site to better meet the needs of the community. Your LIC was formed to carry out that process.

“As a family-owned company founded by Queens natives, we know what an incredible opportunity the waterfront presents and we think it’s critical for any plan to reflect the community’s needs and vision,” TF Cornerstone Principal Jeremy Shell said. “By launching a series of in-person workshops and online conversations, everyone has the opportunity to have a say in the future of the neighborhood.”

Visit YourLIC.nyc for more information on the workshops and to be part of the online conversation.

“This public engagement process will ensure that our framework is one that is driven by the residents of Long Island City,” L&L MAG CEO Mary Anne Gilmartin said. “We look forward to having an open dialogue with the entire community to create the type of waterfront the Long Island City community deserves.”

Plaxall, which was partnering with TF Cornerstone to develop the HQ2 campus, did not join the Your LIC group, and have recently met with community groups about post-Amazon development.

“We’ve been part of this community for more than 70 years and spent a lot of time talking with our neighbors about the need for comprehensive planning and thoughtful development along the waterfront, and about our property’s potential for jobs and workforce development, affordable housing and resilient waterfront open space,” Plaxall Managing Director Paula Kirby said. “We remain committed to pursuing a vision that builds on LIC’s history as a center for innovation and creativity, and to working with the city and the community on a plan to make Anable Basin an integral part of the future LIC waterfront.”

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