BY COUNCILMAN RORY I. LANCMAN
It is an exciting time for downtown Jamaica.
Thanks to the work of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s Jamaica Now Action Plan, downtown Jamaica has developed into a growing and thriving community. More families are choosing to live and work here. New businesses are setting up shop, creating jobs and opportunities. Public investment has connected Jamaica to John F. Kennedy Airport through AirTrain and private investment has spearheaded the creation of apartments, hotels and retail shops.
Downtown Jamaica—part of which I represent—is transforming right before our eyes. With Gov.Andrew Cuomo’s new $10 million Downtown Revitalization commitment, the neighborhood is about to take another huge step forward.
When Gov. Cuomo announced last year that downtown Jamaica was selected for this incredible new investment by New York State, it was huge news. In the months that followed the announcement, a local planning committee composed of community leaders and civic organizations worked with state agencies to identify specific projects to further development and build on the area’s existing assets.
Earlier this month, I joined Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Queens leaders as the governor’s office announced the seven winning projects that would be financed by the $10 million initiative.
I am pleased to report that two of the projects are based in the 24th Council District, which I represent in the New York City Council. The first is the creation of a co-working space in the Moda building that will provide affordable and flexible workspace to entrepreneurs and startups. Not only will the workspace help create jobs, but it will help attract new industries to downtown Jamaica.
The other is the expansion of career and technical education (CTE) at Thomas Edison High School. The CTE programs provided at Edison are critical to ensuring our children are taught the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow.
In order to attract new businesses, along with new residents, downtown Jamaica must have broadband service that is top notch. The committee wisely made bringing high-speed internet and improving broadband infrastructure a priority project. Doing so will make it easier for people to stay connected and help local businesses operate effectively.
As we bring in new services and technology into downtown Jamaica, it is vital that we enhance the physical space that we already have. That is why the transformation of Jamaica Center is such an important project. By expanding the surrounding public space and improving streetscape, we can improve residents’ quality-of-life and make this area welcoming for all.
I look forward to seeing how these projects revitalize this important neighborhood and the local economy. The future is bright for downtown Jamaica.
Rory Lancman represents the 24th City Council district, which covers Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Hollis, Flushing, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.