One Jackson Heights plaza is getting a little extra help to fully shine in the community.
Councilmember Daniel Dromm recently announced he will allocate $500,000 in capital funds for enhancements to the 37th Road Pedestrian Plaza known as Diversity Plaza.
“Diversity Plaza has become an integral part of our community,” said Dromm.
“These improvements will go a long way to build out an asset that our community has come to adopt as a town square. Despite its slightly rocky start, this truly is the ‘little plaza that could.’”
The funding will allow the plaza, which is still in its design phase, to include seating, lighting and other features. Other amenities will also include the installment of community maps, guiding residents and visitors to local businesses around the neighborhood.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has also reserved $2 million to provide extra improvements to the plaza, including a public pay toilet, permanent seating and an improved street surface. Later this fall, Dromm’s office and the DOT will set up a meeting at which the public will have the chance to give their opinions on the amenities.
“Diversity Plaza is a result of tremendous community effort, from the intensive transportation planning sessions that developed it, to the efforts of the local merchants and civic groups that are now sustaining it,” said Andy Wiley-Schwarts, Assistant Commissioner for Public Space at the DOT. “We look forward to working with Councilmember Dromm and the Jackson Heights community to build a safe, beautiful public space for generations to enjoy.”
The councilmember also secured $10,000 in discretionary funding to include the services of the Horticultural Society and ACE New York, which will offer a monthly power washing and horticulture care as part of daily maintenance and cleaning services for the plaza. Dromm had already allocated $60,000 to the Doe Fund to clean both the plaza and surrounding area.
The nonprofit organization SUKHI New York was founded to become the plaza partner and take care of maintenance and events.
“We are eager to involve the broader Jackson Heights community in a discussion about what they would like to see on their plaza,” said Shazia Kauser, president and one of the founders of SUKHI New York.
In the past months, the plaza has hosted the first ever open-air community board meeting with Community Board 3 and a series of short films as part of the Queens World Film Festival.