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Revamped parks, housing along the water in both Long Island City and the Rockaways and ferry service to Manhattan are some of the major projects listed for Queens in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $3.3 billion plan to reintroduce residents and tourists to the city’s waterfront.
“We have made huge strides in reconnecting communities to the waterfront and now we’re launching an ambitious plan that ties those projects together into what will be one of the most sweeping transformations of any urban waterfront in the world,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Bloomberg was joined by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and others in city government when he announced the blueprint of the extensive, citywide project titled “Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan” at Brooklyn Bridge Park Monday.
While the plan and many aspects of it have been discussed before — Bloomberg unveiled a proposal for the first phase of the 5,000-unit waterfront development Hunters Point South in Long Island City last month — the blueprint ties the 130 projects across the city together.
“It’s not just an environmental plan to protect wetlands and habitat, but it goes beyond that to other uses for the waterfront in terms of transportation and business and just making connections between NYC’s waterfront in many different ways,” said Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who is the chair of environmental protection in the council.
Most of the Queens projects in Vision 2020 are centered along Long Island City, Jamaica Bay and Rockaways area, with a few smaller projects along the borough’s northeast shore. A number of these projects involve parks, like designing and reconstructing Long Island City’s public access pier at 44th Drive; new amenities including playgrounds and sports field at Rockaway Beach Park; a public waterfront at the 80th Street Marina in the Rockaways; and a new 5-acre waterfront park at Hunters Point South.
Others involve housing along the waterfront such as Hunters Point South; the urban renewal area at Edgemere, which will create homes, parklard and wetlands; and Averne by the Sea, a development of 270 two-family homes in the Rockaways.
Improvements to water-related infrastructure and the ecology of Queens were also included in “Vision 2020.” Jamaica Bay will receive upgrades to its nitrogen-control systems at its surrounding wastewater plants as well as work to restore the marshlands and a feasibility study to see if eel grass can be planted at Breezy Point.
Sanitary sewers and outfall controls are planned for Willets Point. Bayside’s Alley Creek will receive a new, combined, sewer overflow storage facility. The cleanup of Newtown Creek, which was designated as a Superfund site in September, is also included.
“Vision 2020” also calls for a feasibility study of conducting a regular ferry service across the East River between Queens and Manhattan.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) applauded the plan and the visioning sessions that were used to bring the plan together.
“I think there’s some very good ideas that came out of this process,” he said.
Both Van Bramer and Gennaro also praised using ferries as a mode of public transportation.
While there are skeptics we should be bold and we should go forward and figure out a way to use more ferries,” Gennaro said. “I think they’re a great way to get around New York City.”
For more information on the project, visit nyc.gov/waves.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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