Calling it “a labor of love,” the president of the Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation (LDC) said the nonprofit group is working hard toward improving Flushing for the entire community.
Former Borough President Claire Shulman serves as president and CEO of the organization which is currently involved in the first stages of the downtown Flushing revitalization effort. The process began after the nonprofit was granted funds through a state environmental program to complete a master plan for an approximately 60-acre area of the neighborhood.
The project has since been largely taken over by the Department of City Planning, which has received funding from the LDC to study potential environmental impacts of rezoning the area and renamed the project “Flushing West.”
According to Shulman, Flushing needs increased city infrastructure because of the high volume of people it services. Reports by the state comptroller’s office have praised the neighborhood’s strong economy, with visitors drawn from all around the tri-state area to experience its legendary cultural and dining offerings.
“If you walk down Main Street, it’s as busy as Times Square. Look at all the people that are there,” said Shulman, who added that the area’s infrastructure includes housing for employees of Flushing small businesses, young families and local seniors.
While the Flushing West study is one of the most high profile of the LDC’s projects, the group has also undertaken other community initiatives.
In 2009, the LDC envisioned a plan to convert a municipal parking lot to a mixed-use facility which would address a significant need for senior facilities. They subsequently received a $14,000 grant to create more elaborate development plans for the project, which would incorporate the Flushing-Main Street Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station into the design, and the project is still in the early stages of planning.
The corporation has also worked with the MTA and LIRR to identify useful improvements to the Flushing-Main Street LIRR station. These will include two new elevators which will make the station handicap accessible, as well as platform railings, lighting and warning stripes. The contract to do the station work is expected to be awarded by the end of 2015.