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(By Danielle Woodward)
FLUSHING, QUEENS — Acres of industrial wasteland that have long line Flushing’s waterfront could soon give way to a vibrant new downtown area complete with affordable housing, thanks to a special designation from the state.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in June designated 62 acres of land in west downtown Flushing as a “Brownfield Opportunity Area,” a title that helps neighborhoods fast-track transformations of polluted industrial sites into housing or business developments that could drive economic growth.
“This Brownfield Opportunity Area program gives local leaders the power to bring about much-needed change to properties that have been neglected within their communities,” Cuomo said.
The Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation applied to get BOA status for the land bordering Flushing Creek between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, identifying 32 potential brownfields.
They hope to redevelop the area into a new district that would act an extension of downtown Flushing and create space for new business, a public waterfront area and affordable housing, according to plans filed with the state.
The plan also calls for improvements to pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow, and a revival of the water quality in Flushing Creek.
“Flushing’s Willets Point and Corona areas are ripe for revitalization, and Governor Cuomo’s designation of the area as a Brownfield Opportunity Area is one more positive step forward for our community,” said New York Stat Assemblyman Ron Kim.
Flushing was one of three New York neighborhoods to receive BOA designations in June, joining Staten Island and Auburn and bringing the statewide total to 47.
“Cleaning up and restoring brownfield properties are critical to safeguarding public health, protecting the environment, and developing community assets with the potential to bolster local economies and improve quality of life,” said Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
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