New group will spur completion of projects in Southeast Queens hub
The formation of an inter-agency panel aimed at improving the conditions in downtown Jamaica has been launched by the Queens Borough President and a local City Councilwoman.
The new group, called the Downtown Jamaica Improvement Council, will be made up of community stakeholders, elected officials and members of city agencies.
Co-chaired by Borough President Donovan Richards and Councilwoman Nantasha Williams, the initiative will help streamline communication between all those involved, which will benefit ongoing and future quality-of-life projects, while also supporting the economic vitality of Downtown Jamaica.
The idea came to be after a walking tour of the district nearly two months ago. During the Friday, March 11 afternoon tour, Richards and Williams spoke with Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin Kim and other city officials about concerns of crime, sanitation, transportation and infrastructure.
“We carefully listened to the Downtown Jamaica community about the issues impacting the quality-of-life in the neighborhood and are committing to make sure they are addressed quickly and comprehensively,” Borough President Richards said. “Our Downtown Jamaica Improvement Council will work diligently to fast-track several projects that will improve conditions in Jamaica and make it an even better place to live, work and visit. The Council will not rest until Downtown Jamaica reaches its fullest potential as a thriving commercial, residential and transportation hub.”
Members of the newly formed council will include U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, Jr., State Senator Leroy Comrie, Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers and Councilman James Gennaro.
Representatives from the Port Authority, the MTA, the NYPD, DOT, DSNY, NYCEDC, SBS, Community Board 12 and the Empire State Development Corporation will also be participating in the council. Officials from the offices of Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams are also expected to be on the council.
Non-governmental stakeholders will include the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District, the Sutphin Boulevard BID, the 165th Street Mall Association, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the South East Queens Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, York College and the Association for a Better New York.
In the near future, the council will tackle issues including creating a localized small business grant program and business incubator, tweaking the Jamaica Avenue busway, identifying safety improvements at the Jamaica Center and Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue subway stations, establishing an Open Street on 165th Street, and beautifying the Jamaica bus terminal.
“I am excited about this new task force,” Williams said. “The creation of this task force is another step towards making Downtown Jamaica a thriving hub for people to work, play, and dine. Jamaica is one of the most important economic hubs in South East Queens and plays a vital role in New York City’s economy. This is an opportunity to improve Downtown Jamaica by leveraging our collective resources. I look forward to working with community leaders, my colleagues in government, city and state agencies, and the business community to make sure this vibrant part of our borough is even better than what it already is.”