Flushing’s future includes cleaning up Brownfields

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The Flushing-Willets Point-Corona Local Development Corporation (FWCLDC) introduced the community to its new initiative – the Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program.

The program is a community-driven economic project that will revitalize so-called ‘brownfields’ – any property which would have complications with redevelopment or reuse because of the potential presence of contamination.

The program would promote greater connectivity and a more seamless transition for downtown Flushing and the BOA area, which is about 60 acres from the Flushing River to Prince Street and Northern Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue.

Prior to an open house for the community on Tuesday, October 18 at Flushing Town Hall, the LDC had been “meeting individually with different property owners, community groups, and organizations like Asian Americans for Equality,” said Project Manager Nicholas Roberts, adding that they have had “very favorable responses from the different community groups approached.”

The “educational, informational, and conversational” neighborhood meeting, as it was described by Joseph Farber, chair of the LDC, had a turn out of about 20 people. President and CEO of FWPCLDC, Claire Shulman, introduced a group of “very sophisticated and intelligent” consultants on the project, including Assemblymember Grace Meng and Kim Matthews of Matthews and Nielsen Architecture.

The open house was the first of three that will be held over the next year to get feedback from residents, many of whom had no idea what the BOA Program was.

The community forum featured a short but detailed presentation and boards set up to explain topics like challenges and opportunities, zoning, land use and parking. There were experts on economics, buildings, connections, and recreation in attendance.

There was also a system for leaving thoughts and ideas – Post-it notes were assigned a color for business owners, residents, area employees, and the general public. Guests were then encouraged to write down their reactions and post on the appropriate board.

Ruth Betson, a resident of Flushing since 1965, came to gain more insight on the project, which she says is “for the best; change is good.” She continued saying, “I like Flushing, that’s why I’m here.”

By 2013, the FWPCLDC hopes to see its goals of ensuring that “the BOA area becomes more integrated with downtown Flushing and this stretch of the Flushing River becomes a vibrant, accessible public resource,” said Roberts, adding that providing affordable housing is high on their list of priorities.

For more information on the initiative, visit www.queensalive.org. To submit comments, email FlushingBOA@queensalive.org.