Long Island City eyes community projects with $10 million state grant

Officials are encouraging local residents to share their vision for the future of LIC
Photo by Paul Frangipane

With Long Island City set to receive $10 million in state funding through an economic development grant, the next step is identifying potential projects the community would like to see. 

Last week, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and the Queens Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of the public planning process that will last approximately two months. The open calls for proposals, which can include new construction and public space improvements, will be accompanied by public community workshops. 

The grant, announced by Governor Kathy Hochul in February, is part of New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which has awarded grants to several communities across the state since it was established in 2016. Jamaica was part of the inaugural round of awardees, and Far Rockaway was also selected more recently. 

Individuals or organizations interested in submitting proposals for projects can do so through an online portal

“Long Island City has been a shining symbol of Queens’ economic growth in recent years, but it is critical we ensure that growth is equitable and beneficial to every family who proudly calls this community home,” said Borough President Donovan Richards in a statement. “I am proud to have this $10 million grant through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative program, and I’m excited to work with our neighbors on projects that will further improve this neighborhood.”

Elected officials and community leaders celebrated the state grant in February. (Photo by Iryna Shkurhan)

The proposals will be evaluated by the Local Planning Committee – a group of local community leaders appointed by the state that will select the projects to receive the $10 million grant. The committee is co-chaired by Borough President Richards and Queens Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Grech. 

Local residents, frequent visitors and workers in LIC are also being encouraged to fill out an online community survey to gauge what kinds of investments they would like to see without needing to submit a formal proposal. 

“Vibrant downtowns with bustling commercial corridors are a sign of thriving communities. I am looking forward to serving as co-chair with Borough President Richards on this initiative and seeing what ideas the brilliant, creative people of Long Island City come up with,” said Grech in a statement. “We invite members of the community to come forward with ideas on how to spend this money in a way that will make the neighborhood an even better place to live, work and play.”

The public submission process will close on Aug. 2. Until then, any proposal geared toward streetscapes, parks, plaza, public art and green infrastructure are welcome. 

However, since the grant has an economic development purpose, proposals that focus on the development or redevelopment of property for mixed-use, commercial, residential or public use and consider the impact on job creation, housing production or community service expansion are encouraged. 

Proposals that involve the acquisition of property and operation or maintenance expenses of an existing program or organization will not be considered. 

Three other community workshops are scheduled throughout the public planning process. The dates and locations of these will be announced in the coming weeks.