Hundreds of Long Island City residents and business owners rallied with community leaders and elected officials Saturday against the city’s plan to develop two plots of publicly owned waterfront property on 44th Drive and a neighboring Department of Education building on Vernon Boulevard.
The proposal, announced in 2016, would turn the city-owned lots into commercial space, luxury apartments and a school, but the community has other ideas that are not being heard by the de Blasio administration.
“With the critical lack of infrastructure in the area, from schools to transportation to senior centers, the fact that the city would try to sell precious public neighborhood land to private developers shows their shortsightedness and lack of understanding of the needs of the neighborhood,” Hunters Point Civic Association President Brent O’Leary said. “I am proud of our neighborhood for standing up to the city and saying our neighborhood will not be sold off. If you want to develop community land, it is the community who should be deciding how that best helps the neighborhood not outside interests.”
The rally was organized by the group Coalition LIC whose online petition has over 1,000 signatures and would prefer the waterfront lots be turned into parkland with wetlands that would afford climate protection in a flood zone. The coalition wants the DOE building turned into a school with a community recreation center, artist and light manufacturing space, a cultural center, a climate change educational center and job training.