Rendering courtesy NYCEDC

Downtown Far Rockaway is poised for a major transformation. On Sept. 8th, the de Blasio Administration and Council Member Donovan Richards announced that the Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project has been approved by the New York City Council, following two years of hearings from community members and the development of an action roadmap.  

The interagency project — the de Blasio Administration’s second neighborhood rezoning initiative to be approved by the New York City Council (the first being the East New York Neighborhood Plan) — will pump $288 million of investments into the Downtown Far Rockaway neighborhood. In addition to funding from private and public sources, the City is committing more than $126 million into the endeavor.

It’s the first rezoning since 1961, and if all goes according to plan, the project will drive economic growth, improve infrastructure and transit connectivity, bring about affordable housing options and develop new commercial space, among a number of other goals.

More specifically, a press release from the NYCEDC points out several highlights of the Far Rockaway investments, including the following:

  • Building a new park on the site of a vacant, City-owned lot
  • Piloting a ferry service shuttle from Downtown Far Rockaway to the current NYC Ferry landing at Beach 108th Street
  • Upgrading sewer infrastructure, expanding sidewalks, and creating new public plazas
  • Making 100% of new housing built on public land affordable, and setting aside new units for extremely low and very low income households
  • Investing $10 million in upgrades to existing schools’ playgrounds, libraries, auditoriums, science labs and more
  • Grants for cultural organizations and increased arts programing

This comprehensive plan — developed based on recommendations from the Downtown Far Rockaway Working Group, a group of local stakeholders brought together by Councilman Donovan Richards — involves collaboration from several City agencies, including NYCEDC, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and others.

“This plan represents the promise of what we can achieve when we come together to ensure that our neighborhoods are vibrant places of opportunity for current and future residents,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “Working across agencies, in lockstep with the community, we’ve created a blueprint for the future of Downtown Far Rockaway as a dynamic hub for the region, with strategies to develop and safeguard affordable housing, protect tenants, improve infrastructure, and grow the local economy.”

Next, check out The Top 12 Secrets of the Rockaways in Queens, NYC.