A transformative re-zoning plan will turn Far Rockaway into a model for urban renewal and job creation, according to experts.
The de Blasio Administration and Council Member Donovan Richard announced that the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project had been approved by the New York City Council last week.
The first re-zoning since the 60s, it will bring $288 million of investments in commercial space and small business support, affordable housing options, open space, transit, and community facilities.
“Today, we begin the journey of building on the progress we have made over the past four years, by infusing hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure, quality jobs, parks, streetscape, transit improvements, and both community facility and open space,” said Council Member Donovan Richards.
“These investments will ensure that Far Rockaway benefits from the amenities that so many other communities in our city enjoy.”
Highlights of Far Rockaway investments include a new park to be built on the site of a vacant, City-owned lot and a new ferry service shuttle from Downtown Far Rockaway to the current NYC Ferry landing at Beach 108th Street.
A new Queens Public Library branch will be built at the corner of Mott and Central Avenues and the plan includes an upgrading of sewer infrastructure, expanding sidewalks, and creating new public plazas.
All new housing built on public land will be classified affordable, and new units that could be created on the Urban Renewal Area for extremely low and very low income households will be set aside.
Free legal services will be provided for Rockaway residents facing unlawful evictions and tenant harassment and existing businesses will get legal aid and business outreach efforts.
There will be $10 million in upgrades to existing schools’ playgrounds, libraries, auditoriums, and science labs, and portion of the Urban Renewal Area for the SCA will include a new school if needed as the neighborhood grows.
“The initiative will bring much-needed affordable housing, economic development and city resources to a neighborhood that has suffered from disinvestment for many, many years,” said Marisa Lago, Chair of the City Planning Commission.