Community outreach for development of 80-acre Arverne East
by Andrew Shilling
May 30, 2014 | 730 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Donovan Richards hosted the public forum.
Councilman Donovan Richards hosted the public forum.
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Rockaway Wildfire lead organizer Kalin Callaghan said new development needs to bring new jobs.
Rockaway Wildfire lead organizer Kalin Callaghan said new development needs to bring new jobs.
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L+M Partners director Ron Moelis and Councilman Donovan Richards at the forum.
L+M Partners director Ron Moelis and Councilman Donovan Richards at the forum.
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Several months after Swedish architects White Arkitekter took first place in the Arverne East design competition in Far Rockaway last October, the surrounding community is now getting their first look at the development of a project that has been nearly a decade in the making.

With plans including a 50-acre nature preserve, a vocational school, and 1,999 units of housing, L+M Partners director Ron Moelis said the next step is to find fiscal support from the city.

“We don’t have funding,” Moelis said at a community presentation last week. “We’ve been spending a lot of our own money to get to this point. We have a lot of support from the council member and we are hoping to get support from the [mayoral] administration.”

L+M Development, The Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities have already spent nearly $250,000 in the FAR ROC competition and are now looking towards the next step. Moelis said now is the time to put this six-year-long plan to work.

“We’ve put a lot into this site,” he said. “The difficulty really is getting the infrastructure done, and there has got to be a will on the part of the government to do the infrastructure.”

He added he is confident the city will be interested in financing the site.

“If you’re looking for a blank canvas to do something new and innovative, this is it,” Moelis said.

Councilman Donovan Richards organized the public forum at Challenge Preparatory Academy in Far Rockaway.

“The administration is looking to build new communities,” Richards said of the city’s effort to rebuild following Hurricane Sandy. “I think now we have an opportunity to do something great here.”

Richards said he has recently been in talks with the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and mayoral administration to discuss the feasibility under de Blasio’s recent $41 billion affordable housing proposal.

“I do see this as part of the plan,” he said. “We’re going to continue talks with the administration.”

Community civic groups like Rockaway Wildfire have led the efforts in drumming up support for the project. Lead organizer Kalin Callaghan said after speaking with nearby residents, most people are interested in finding jobs in building and maintaining the site.

“And not just jobs that are six-month construction jobs, but training that is linked to industry and jobs that lead to careers,” Callaghan said. “There are not a lot of jobs to speak of here. We’re geographically isolated, so it’s difficult to commute.”

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