City to expand health care access in the Rockaways with new $30 million community health facility

health care facility
The city will build a new $30 million state-of-the-art Gotham Health Center in downtown Far Rockaway. (Courtesy of NYC Housing Connects)

NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health and the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced plans to open a new $30 million comprehensive community health center in Far Rockaway.

On March 30, the health system’s board of directors voted to approve a proposal to sign a 32-year lease for the 22,000-square-foot site at Rockaway Village, located at 1720 Village Lane, which is expected to open in 2025.

“Bringing a quality health care center to New Yorkers in the Rockaways was a promise made in our ‘Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery,’ and today I’m proud to announce our $30 million investment to make this center a reality,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “The new health center, along with low-cost housing and key infrastructure investments, will revitalize Far Rockaway for years to come.”

Residents along the Rockaway Peninsula experience cancer, heart disease, diabetes and infant mortality at higher rates than the rest of Queens, and the COVID-19 pandemic caused the deaths of more than 600 Far Rockaway residents alone, according to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards took a walking tour of the Rockaway Village space last year in anticipation of the new healthcare facility. (Courtesy of BP’s Office)

“The days of deliberate disinvestment in the health of Far Rockaway families are officially done,” Richards said. “ From thousands of units of housing to a state-of-the-art library and now to a high-quality NYC Health + Hospitals facility, the $288 million rezoning of Far Rockaway, which passed in 2017, continues to pay dividends for this community — one that is more than deserving of holistic investment.”

He added that the new Gotham Health Center represents a flipping of the script by opening healthcare centers instead of closing them.

“I’m proud to have worked with the mayor’s office, NYC Health + Hospitals, and our many other partners to deliver such a transformational project for the families of Far Rockaway and I look forward to working with my partners in government, like Council member Selvena Brooks-Powers, to further expand access to high-quality health care across the Rockaway Peninsula in the months and years to come,” Richards said.

Brooks-Powers said she was elated by the announcement.

“Adequate health care is a necessity deserved by all. As new developments continue to expand across the Rockaway peninsula, the availability of quality healthcare facilities must be expanded to meet the needs of our growing community,” Brooks-Powers said. “The new NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health facility coming to downtown Far Rockaway is absolutely a step in that direction.”

Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson called the comprehensive community health center a win not just for Far Rockaway, but for all of Southeast Queens.

“We know that in New York, especially in Far Rockaway, the ability to live a long and healthy life is not equally available to all residents due to historic disinvestment and destabilized healthcare infrastructure in communities of color,” Anderson said. “I am committed to working with my government colleagues, healthcare providers, and key stakeholders to ensure quality and equitable healthcare for all residents of Far Rockaway and Southeast Queens.”

The new site will offer primary care and specialty care, including women’s health, vision, behavioral health, dental, podiatry, and imaging services.

“I’m proud that this new clinic will offer comprehensive, high-quality primary and specialty care to our community in Queens,” NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health CEO Michelle Lewis said. “The new, state-of-the-art facility will support the comprehensive needs of our patients and fellow New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status.”

The clinic still requires approval from the New York State Department of Health, which oversees the opening of all health facilities statewide, as well as other regulatory approvals and a signed lease. The city of New York contributed $30 million to cover the cost of outfitting the space and the new community health center is part of the NYCEDC’s “Downtown Far Rockaway Roadmap for Action” initiative.

“The construction of this facility was made possible through the ‘Downtown Far Rockaway Roadmap for Action’ developed by the Downtown Far Rockaway Working Group,” NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball said. “The opening of the Gotham Health Center will provide a state-of-the-art Community Health Center for Far Rockaway that will not only expand access to primary care and other health services but increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for local residents.”