Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Far Rockaway would receive $4.5 million in funding for its ongoing downtown revitalization initiative as part of the state’s NY Forward program. The funding will support beautification efforts that include the enhancing of business facades, the improvement of pedestrian and visitor wayfinding, bicycle infrastructure and streetscape amenities to emphasize proximity to Far Rockaway’s beaches and commercial core.
“New York’s smaller towns and cities are the heartbeat of our state,” Hochul said. “Through NY Forward, my administration is building on the continued success of our Downtown Revitalization Initiative to ensure these communities have the resources they need to reach their full potential. I’m proud to announce Far Rockaway will receive $4.5 million from this initiative to support locally-led projects that will enhance the downtown’s beauty and help the community thrive.”
Far Rockaway will now begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown. A Local Planning Committee of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead these efforts, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners.
“Downtown Far Rockaway thrives as a vibrant economic, social and cultural hub for working-class pedestrians and commuters,” Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson said. “This award will support our diverse small business community, devastated by Superstorm Sandy and the COVID-19 pandemic, by investing in beautification and a more cohesive pedestrian experience. I am committed to working with Governor Hochul, NY Forward, my government colleagues, the merchants association and community leaders to ensure the post-pandemic renaissance continues in downtown Far Rockaway.”
The Strategic Investment Plan will examine local assets and opportunities to identify projects that align with each community’s vision and that are poised for implementation.
“This investment in Far Rockaway will help in promoting local businesses, creating economic opportunity, and improving the quality of life for residents of southeast Queens,” state Senator James Sanders said. “This announcement represents a real commitment by New York State towards addressing the years of disinvestment in Far Rockaway. This $4.5 million NY Forward award is a testament to the vitality and strength of our community.”
The governor said that Far Rockaway’s downtown has historic characteristics similarly found in smaller villages and hamlets located throughout Long Island and upstate.
“I want to thank the Governor for acknowledging that small towns exist in big cities,” Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said. “With this influx of State funding, NY Forward will help our local community obtain its full potential and ensure our Peninsula has access to its fair share.”
Far Rockaway was also selected because it has the local capacity to manage the planning and implementation of projects, including the ability to oversee contracts for awarded municipal projects. Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner Hope Knight explained that the NY Forward initiative has been successful in helping smaller and rural communities across the state reach their full potential through new opportunities for growth and economic prosperity.
“This award will have a restorative ripple effect on Far Rockaway,” she said. “Transforming this iconic beach community into an interconnected and vibrant destination, and featuring welcoming spaces where people want to live, work and play.”