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Front Page December 28, 2012  RSS feed

Greenway Study Gets State Grant

Will Explore Possibility Of ‘Queensway’ On Train Line
by Sam Goldman

A grant to The Trust for Public Land to explore the feasibility of creating a greenway along the abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road was one of several such grants doled out as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2012 Regional Economic Development Council Awards.

The $467,000 allocation will go toward a study of the line to see if the proposal to convert the 3.5-mile stretch of railroad to a walkway and bike path is doable.

Opinions have varied widely as to what to do with the abandoned branch. Some groups, such as the Friends of the Queensway, are in favor of creating the park path, while several others, including Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, are in favor of reactivating the line to alleviate mass transit concerns between Rego Park and Ozone Park.

Several other projects in Queens also received grants:

• Gotham Greens Farms LLC was awarded $902,000 to help construct a greenhouse on the roof of a warehouse in Jamaica. The company esti- that the greenhouse will yield over 500 tons of fresh produce each year.

• The Department of Transportation received $1.2 million to monitor permeable pavement technologies near the Flushing Bay watershed. The city is investigating the feasibility of permeable pavements as a way of reducing stormwater runoff.

• The Office of the Queens Borough President will get $150,000 to create a Tech Zone Strategic plan for the East River waterfront, to complement the planned Cornell tech campus at Roosevelt Island;

• The Queens Chamber of Commerce will receive a $100,000 award to develop a free location-based app for iPhone and Android devices targeted at tourists coming to Queens next year for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Citi Field and the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows- Corona Park, as well as Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey in February 2014.

A total of $738 million has been awarded for 725 projects across the state through the second round of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, including over $51 million for 50 projects based in New York City.

According to a press release, the regional councils were put in place in 2011 to redesign the state’s approach to economic development from a topdown model to a community-based, performance-driven approach.

As part of the second round of the process, Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, and a Strategic Implementation Assessment Team composed of state agency commissioners, members of the Brookings Institution and senior staff, traveled to every region of the state to view progress on projects that have received state funding, as well as to assess projects included in the region’s 2012 application.

“For the second year in a row, the Regional Councils have been on the forefront of rebuilding New York State’s economy,” Cuomo said. “For too many years, top-down economic development policies have failed communities across the state and not truly invested in the unique resources and strengths of each of New York’s regions. The strategic plans created during this process have given each region a comprehensive, locally created plan for future economic growth. With this second round of Regional Economic Development Council awards, the state is recognizing the creativity and innovation of each strategic plan, while investing hundreds of millions of dollars to put New Yorkers back to work and rebuild our economy.”

Highlights of the funding and projects for the New York City area include:

• $1.5 million for the New York Genome Center, a partnership with 11 major academic, medical, philanthropy, technology and pharmaceutical institutions to bring large-scale genomic analyses in conjunction with translational research, bioinformatics capability and data mining. State funding will be used to create stateof the-art research space in Manhattan.

• $1.25 million for Macro Sea, Inc. to establish a high-tech design and prototyping “New Lab” center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard by adaptively reusing two wings of the Green Manufacturing Center, a former shipbuilding factory originally built in 1899.

• $500,000 for the New York City Wetlands Mitigation Bank to facilitate waterfront development and restoration of targeted wetlands in New York harbor. The program will provide seed financing to fund a restoration project that could support new ferry landings, waterfront esplanades and open space, upgrades to sewer infrastructure and rehabilitated roads and bridges.

• $400,000 for the Oak Point Property to construct a warehouse, distribution and food processing facility that will feature locally grown and organic produce/farm products from state growers, a rooftop farm run by Gotham Greens, and a training facility.

• $5 million for infrastructure improvements to convert the former Brooklyn Navy Yards Hospital into a new media campus for Steiner Studios. The $110.25 million project will support site preparation and preconstruction activities that will ultimately enable over 460,000 square feet of new space to be built for academic partners and media companies in renovated historic structures and new buildings.