Southeast Queens receives street upgrades, affordable housing opportunities

Evan Triantafilidis

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Mayor Eric Adams and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced the completion of two quality of life projects in Southeast Queens, directly benefiting neighborhoods they both grew up around.

A $49.3 million water infrastructure project has brought six miles of new sewers and water mains to Rochdale, and an affordable housing project has launched to create 16 new, rehabilitated homes for ownership.

Despite the downfall of hail and frozen rain, Speaker Adams rejoiced, knowing far too long about the conditions of her community.

“This is a sunny day for us,” Speaker Adams said.

“Whether you live in South Jamaica, South Ozone Park or South Richmond Hill, residents for generations have often felt forgotten, overlooked and marginalized when it comes to investments from the city that can address long standing issues. Despite the best efforts from so many of our representatives, Southeast Queens, like too many other corners of our city, endured systematic disinvestment and neglect. We felt resigned to this fate as outer boroughs left behind to deal with disparity and inequity on our own for decades,” she said.

The street improvements and flood-alleviating measures include over one mile of new storm sewers, with an additional 2,265 feet of existing storm sewers being replaced. A total of 55 new catch basins were installed and 53 old ones were replaced.

The installation of three new underground chambers and the replacement of an old one increases the holding capacity of the local sewers. During construction, 9,235 feet of sanitary sewers were replaced, and 595 feet of new sewers were installed. Over three miles of water mains were replaced to improve water infrastructure reliability.

Mayor Adams called it a “powerful moment” for the Southeast Queens community.

“New catch basins, new curbs, new sidewalks, better roads,” Mayor Adams listed. “This is a total transformation.”

The Mayor said that broken promises from previous administrations led to broken drains and further flood damage to communities in Southeast Queens.

“Whenever there is rainfall, even a drizzle, this community traditionally would just cross their fingers and hope that they would not see a flood or have their property destroyed,” he said.
“We’re improving the quality of life and making this community more resilient in our fight against climate change.”

The Mayor also kicked off “Habitat Net Zero”, an affordable home ownership project that will create 16 “Green Homes” from 13 dilapidated homes previously owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

Along with Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County, and through the city’s Department of Housing Preservation (HPD), the homes will be equipped with rooftop solar panels and heat-pump technology for heating and cooling, with the aim to keep homes at or near net-zero energy use.

To ensure long-term affordability, the land will be transferred to the Interboro Community Land Trust (CLT). HPD will enter a 40-year regulatory agreement with Interboro CLT, and the CLT will enter into 99-year, renewable ground leases with each homeowner.

In addition to funding from HPD’s Open Door program, funding for the project will be financed by the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation and with Reso A funds provided by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Speaker Adams and former Councilmember I. Daneek Miller. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Nonprofit Finance Fund are providing construction financing, and an Article XI tax exemption will help keep ongoing housing costs affordable.

“This is going to be affordable for generations to come,” Mayor Adams said.

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