April 4, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A band of civic groups and elected officials will be protesting outside of City Hall against the city’s plans for 44th Drive in Long Island City in the coming weeks.
The rally will take place on April 10 at 11 a.m., and will carry the same message of opposition heard at the March 3 protest to the Economic Development Corporation’s 1.5 million square foot project at the publicly-owned waterfront site. The plan will mix thousands of square feet of office and industrial space with about 1,000 residential units. A public park and a new school are also included in the project.
The event will see the same groups, including the LIC Coalition, the Court Square Civic Association, Justice for All, and the Hunters Point Civic Association. Elected officials present at the initial rally, including Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, and State Senator Michael Gianaris, will also be in attendance, according to the organizers.
Sabina Omerhodzic, a member of the LIC Coalition, said the group will hand in their “Save the Waterfront” petition to all city officials during the event. The coalition’s online petition envisions a different development for the waterfront, including a recreation center, a wetland park, and a school, arts, and job training center at the adjacent Department of Education building. The DOE building, while not part of the 44th Drive project, was recently listed by the city in a separate project as a site for life sciences companies to potentially take up.
The online petition was close to 1,200 signatures, but Omerhodzic hopes to reach 3,000 by the rally.
“We are planning to deliver this to every council member, as well as the EDC, the comptroller, and the mayor,” Omerhodzic said. “We want to make sure everybody is aware.”
TF Cornerstone, the developer selected by the city to build out the site, said they will begin meeting with the community next month to discuss the project’s design. The public rezoning process, they say, is expected to start in the first half of 2019, once the project’s design is complete.
The EDC previously said they are in the early stages of the project, and intend to work with elected officials, the community board, and other local stakeholders on it.