FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 10, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 11
NYC and Amtrak to commence Sunnyside Yard master planning in summer 2018
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Planning for the much anticipated
Sunnyside Yard project in Long Island
City is getting underway in earnest.
Deputy Mayor for Housing and
Economic Development Alicia Glen
and Amtrak Chairman Anthony Cosica
announced today, May 3, that they will
begin the master planning process for
Sunnyside Yard. Th e City of New York
and Amtrak signed a letter of intent to formalize
their agreement, and the 18-month
process is slated to begin this summer.
“Th is is a once in a generation opportunity
for civic groups, public offi cials
and residents to create a vision for their
borough, one that delivers on the central
challenges Queens faces like aff ordable
housing, open space, more school seats
and better public transit. We are ready to
listen and to work with all our partners to
develop a plan that Queens can be proud
of,” Glen said.
Th e yards are majority owned by
Amtrak. Th e other parts of the property
are owned by New York City and the
Metropolitan Transit Authority, who the
New York City Economic Development
Corporation (EDC) said will also be part
of the master planning process later on.
EDC Vice President Cali Williams was
named as the director of Sunnyside Yard.
Williams has been with the EDC for nearly
10 years, and has had extensive experience
in implementing neighborhood planning,
economic development and rezoning. Her
most recent experience involved overseeing
comprehensive action plans for
Jamaica and Far Rockaway.
Prior to beginning the project, the EDC
conducted a feasibility study in 2015 to
determine the possibility of the overbuild
project. Th e study found that 80 to 85 percent
of the 180-acre yard could be built
over, creating the potential for building
24,000 homes, 19 schools, 52 acres of public
parks and other community amenities.
Th e Sunnyside Yard steering committee
will be lead by both Elizabeth
Lusskin, president of the Long Island City
Partnership, and Sharon Greenberger,
president and CEO of the YMCA of
Greater New York. In addition to these
women, the steering committee will be
made up of 35 diverse individuals including
elected offi cials, local community
leaders and planning experts.
According to the EDC, the steering
committee will meet quarterly over the
18-month planning process. During that
time, they will be getting community
feedback through public meetings and
workshops, attending civic meetings and
canvassing. Williams and members of the
EDC highlighted the importance of community
engagement and input during the
master planning process.
One of the key reasons that the EDC
gave for building in Sunnyside Yard is the
exponential population growth in Queens
and New York City as a whole over the
next 20 years. Th e population is expected
to grow by half a million people, 80,000 of
which will be in Queens alone.
Th is large-scale growth will put a strain
on the city’s current resources, including
schools, parks, mass transit and housing.
Th e EDC said that the project presents
“an opportunity to address these
challenges head-on and do so in a way
that integrates new development into the
established fabric of surrounding communities.”
Following the announcement,
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan voiced
her disapproval on the steering committee’s
failure to reach out to her and the
lack of diversity on the panel.
“I am incredibly disappointed that
Deputy Mayor Glen did not reach out
to get my input as the elected representative
of this district for over 30 years.
I have worked closely with the mayor
on many issues and it is shocking to see
community voices denied in this process
at the very beginning. I commend the
many talented leaders on this group but
it must be more diverse and refl ective of
our western Queens community. I must
insist that locally elected offi cials be able
to recommend community leaders to this
panel, that it be expanded to include more
voices and that more local residents and
businesses, not just nonprofi t groups, be
Nolan added that she would introduce
legislation to “give the governor and the
Legislature more input into this process.”
Photo courtesy of NYCEDC
Sunnyside Railyards Aerials; Queens New York; Architect: FX Fowle Architects
YOU GOTTA SEE IT
TO BELIEVE IT!
NEW APARTMENTS. NEW AMENITIES. NEW EVERYTHING.
Premium No Fee Rentals in Queens | Studios, One-, Two-, & Three-Bedrooms
LiveAtLeFrakCity.com | 888.449.3158