April 26, 2019 By Christian Murray
The $180 million promised Long Island City to help address the area’s stretched infrastructure was included in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2020 fiscal budget released yesterday.
The funds will be used toward the construction of a new school in Court Square, upgrades to the sewage system, and improvements to the transportation network and local parks.
The allocation is part of the Long Island City Investment Strategy, a long-term plan released by the City in October to help improve the stressed infrastructure.
The plan was announced largely in response to the residential development boom that City Planning didn’t foresee when it rezoned the 37-block Queens Plaza/Court Square district in 2001.
City Planning anticipated, according to its Final Environmental Impact Statement in 2001, that no more than 340 residential units would be built in the area by 2010 and expected as much as 5.5 million square feet of commercial development, according to a recent report released by The Municipal Art Society of New York titled A Tale of Two Rezonings.
In 2010, there were 800 residential units and by 2018 almost 10,000 units—with more coming, according to the report. Meanwhile, the amount of commercial space dropped by 2010, as buildings were being demolished for residential use.
City Planning’s miscalculation has meant a lack of schools and park space for the influx of residents and a range of other problems.
The $180 million will be allocated to tackle many of the area’s shortages.
The city is allocating $60 million toward a new school in Court Square. Additionally, $95 million has been set aside to implement a first phase of upgrades to the combined sewers in the area west of Sunnyside Yard as part of an upcoming drainage plan.
The budget also includes $10 million to fund street infrastructure in Hunters Point and the greater area to fix roads and improve street infrastructure.
The budget includes $15 million toward additional open space in the inland portions of the neighborhood, like under the Queensboro Bridge ramps on Dutch Kills Street, while enhancing existing parks, like Queensbridge Baby Park and Court Square Park.
The $180 million plan stems from the city coordinating with multiple agencies and engaging with the community since 2015, where the city heard concerns from distressed locals on infrastructure keeping pace with development.
But Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer believes much more needs to be done.
“While I am pleased to see the $180 million in Long Island City infrastructure investment officially added to the City’s budget, we need more than just this step in the right direction,” Van Bramer said. “And like this $180 million, we need more infrastructure investment that isn’t tied to more development. The needs exist today for the people who call LIC home now.”
Van Bramer said that the School Construction Authority needs to find a site for the school in Court Square as soon as possible. Recently he said that the city should use eminent domain to make it happen.
Thomas Devaney, senior director of Land Use Planning at The Municipal Art Society, said that it is very difficult to play catch-up when it comes to infrastructure and that people are living with the consequences of City Planning’s miscalculation.
The report notes that City Planning wanted Queens Plaza and Court Square to become a commercial hub that would be an alternative to midtown and downtown Manhattan when it undertook the 2001 rezoning. It up-zoned blocks and allowed mixed-used buildings in what was an area largely zoned for light manufacturing and commercial use.
Instead the plan misfired. In 2001, only 2 percent of the floor area within the 37 block district consisted of residential development. By 2018, the number reached 60 percent.
De Blasio said in 2015 that the city was looking to rezone the area again. The city then launched the Long Island City Core Study and held public meetings in 2017. There has been little movement since.
Van Bramer said that the area needs more resources. “I’ll keep working for more funding because LIC deserves it.”
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said she was glad that De Blasio made good on his commitment to Long Island City.
“I am delighted that Mayor de Blasio is keeping his commitment to the Long Island City community. I have made clear to him that I believe it is critically important for the city to fix the aging sewage system in Long Island City, which backs up every time it rains, to build new parks and schools to meet the growing population. In coming months, I’ll be working with the de Blasio administration to make sure the funding is invested as promised.”
It’s a no-brainer that most of those purchases were speculating on the November Amazon decision. How many purchasers bought several apartments? No surprise that market is weakening post pull/out.
I almost can’t feel bad for the people in LIC, I don’t even consider them part of Queens. If they can afford to rent a studio apartment for almost $3000 or purchase a condo for over a million & more, they are the upper middle class or the millennials being supported by their parents as were many were when I lived in the city for 26 years. But I knew what my limits were and moved, purchasing a coop in Sunnyside 12 years ago. You remember Sunnyside,Jimmy, you live here. We had a block fire destroying 4 restaurants & the UPS , and hardware store. The florist, card store, lotto /deli closed. The hardware,Peruvian and bagel place going out. The 1 movie theatre and Dime Bank are out. South Pole went out, what’s coming in? Even I wrote a letter to Trader Joe’s asking them to come. What have you done for your town. All because these landlords are such pigs, gonifs! Their infrastructure should have been planned before they built up the area. How could the city extend the 7 train to Hudson Yards for 2.6 Billion before fixing the current system? Or not consider building more schools for the families who would be moving to LIC. Taxpayers are your main concern and we are always paying MORE TAXES higher rents , increased metro fares to pay for the Political Folly of NY. Stop discussing Amazon it’s over with, closed, done. And what about your townsfolk Sunnyside Jimmy? Rents have increased, the amount of apartments not stablizedc is huge. People are talking about moving they can’t afford it. Oh yes you gave us those fabulous bike lanes. Now it’s like crossing Queens Blvd in the old days. I have to watch out for cars going straight & turning & the bikes riding 2 directions on a one was street. It was a brilliant execution, so to speak!
Will $180M stop New Yorkers making mistakes in voting in derps for politicians?
Van Bramer never misses a photo-op and Ms. Maloney can go sit with her Pandas all she wants. LIC needs to stop rezoning and any more development should be STOPPED. The new Luxury building on Jackson Ave, on the burger Garage block work goes on into the late evening 7:30-8pm even after. Trucks load on Court Square West one truck to another at 10:30 pm at night (Illegal) and park on the block all night. 2 Trees have been knocked down by tucks. 1 is still laying in the street by the municipal garage next to Court House. RIDICULOUS, where are the Police, building inspectors etc…
Agreed, someone needs to stop these developers. Maybe our developer president will do it?
I couldn’t agree more with the two comments made above! $180 to amend mistakes?! Just put a halt to all this building! It is out of control!!
call the news media call all of the stations including Marcia Kramer – this is what people should be doing not only writing here but calling and things will get done –
How much in this budget to try to bring Amazon HQ back? We are more than willing to dump the clueless local politicos.
There money for Josh to fly to Amazon headquarters so he can give Bezos some of his new meats
Here, here! All the negativity was on Amazon when the politicians were the ones falling short on duties to make the right changes for the neighborhood – schools, infrastructure, affordable housing.
yo, like lets just use the 3 billion we were going to give to amazon! problem solved
Amazon wasn’t getting $3B, They were getting tax breaks, big difference. You could argue the merits of having 25,000 jobs move into LIC, but the economy in LIC would have seen a huge jump.
@Bronx Cheer…the joke is much less funny if it needs to be explained. Oh well
That’s true. The $3B in tax breaks was over 10 years and would have been made up by the taxes the 25,000 new employees would have paid. In addition, there would have been new jobs created from companies that would have supported Amazon (computer and other professionals, delivery, etc.). Also there would have been other jobs from restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. All these additional companies and jobs would have paid taxes, which would have offset the tax breaks.
The people against Amazon are fools without a clue.
If ignorance is bliss these people must be as happy as pigs in sh*t.
Please Google “tax credit.”
Now you sound just as ill informed as that fool Cortez. it was a 3 billion incentive plan over 10 years based on employing 25K + people. There never was 3 billion to hand over. But there again why am i trying to explain this to a spoilt Socialist fool
I think this comment is sarcasm and not literal, don’t fall for it 🙂