Today’s news:

Blighted Ridgewood property to be beautified by neighbors

Two months after she proposed the plan, the Long Island Rail Road has agreed to City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s (D-Middle Village) request to let the community turn a dilapidated newsstand in Ridgewood into open space for the community.

The lot at 61-50 Metropolitan Ave. is the site of an abandoned newsstand and convenience store. Plans to develop the property date back to the 2003 fiscal year and an item was included in the MTA’s current five-year capital plan, Crowley’s office said.

“For the past decade this abandoned old newsstand has invited graffiti, vandalism and traffic,” Crowley said. “As one of the busiest intersections in Queens, beautifying this corner will help ease traffic tension, reduce crime and attract consumers to surrounding businesses.”

Crowley’s office said more details about the project would emerge in January, noting the councilwoman is working with state legislators to secure capital review board funding and will meet with the city Parks Department to try to help find funding sources.

The total cost of the project is expected to be about $100,000 she said.

The community use of the property is not expected to be affected by the MTA’s announcement of impending budget cuts to close a $383 million deficit, Crowley’s spokeswoman said, noting they expect any state funding to come from legislators and not the LIRR.

The park area will probably be temporary since Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said the city Department of Transportation had plans to refurbish the bridge carrying Metropolitan Avenue over the LIRR tracks, postponing the railroad’s plans for the site.

Crowley brought the lot to the LIRR’s attention in September when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority held hearings on its 2014 capital improvements plan.

“I am pleased to see that the MTA is willing to improve their property that has been a blight on the area for years,” state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said in a statement.

“Improvements to this area will benefit local businesses and the entire neighborhood,” state Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Glendale) said in a statement.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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