Sept. 15, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
The city is holding a public meeting on the Sunnyside Yard proposal Monday and will release some early design concepts as it looks to finalize plans for the gigantic western Queens site.
Transportation, park space and public amenities will be among the topics discussed at the meeting.
The meeting, which will take place at Aviation High School at 45-30 36th St. in Long Island City on Monday (5 p.m.), Sept. 16, is the third in a series of public meetings organized by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Amtrak, which owns the majority of the site.
The city has been working on a master plan for the 180-acre site since May 2018 and still expects to complete it on schedule by the end of the year, according to Adam Meagher, Director of Sunnyside Yard.
The master plan will be a guide as to how the massive site will be developed. It will include the size and scale of the housing stock; the transportation network; the commercial space; parks; schools and more. It will outline the development phases and provide a timeline.
Meagher said that Monday’s meeting will be an opportunity for attendees to view some of the early concepts.
The public will be able to look at diagrams and information boards placed around the school hall that detail some of the core elements being proposed. There will be diagrams featuring housing, park space, a transportation grid, and more.
The EDC will assign staff members to answer questions pertaining to the diagrams and boards– and gather public feedback. The EDC will incorporate that feedback into its masterplan.
The EDC wants the public to see these concepts as early as possible and wants them to offer feedback to help shape the masterplan, Meagher said.
Some of the design concepts include 60 acres of parks and open space, a similar size to Astoria Park and roughly one third of the entire area of Sunnyside Yard. The EDC has placed a particular emphasis on creating recreational space, according to Meagher.
“We’ve heard through our research that there is a tremendous need for parks in western Queens,” Meagher said. “So the plan really thinks about how Sunnyside Yard could have a major new network of parks and open spaces for Western Queens.”
Meagher said that middle and working class housing concepts would be modeled on places like Hunters Point South and Sunnyside Gardens, projects that took a long time to implement and followed a long term vision.
The Sunnyside Yard project may take up to 100 years to fully complete and the EDC won’t rush through any plans, according to Meagher.