Downtown Jamaica is one of the neighborhoods benefitting from a state program that redevelops underused vacant lots, home in the past to gas stations, auto repair shops, junk yards, factories and similar poorly managed waste operations.
Known as Brownfield Opportunity Areas, the project cleans up these sites, usually in low-income areas, by removing dangerous contaminants and then redeveloping them.
Now the City Council is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include a $15 million allocation in state long-term funding. The 2014-15 state budget “has inexplicably eliminated funding” for the program, said Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), chairman of the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection.
Emphasizing that the program plays “a vital role in restoring and revitalizing distressed communities and creating jobs,” the councilman insisted on the need to keep funding the Brownfield Opportunity Areas.
In Jamaica, the target area — mostly industrial and commercial — covers 40 blocks, containing a total of 616 properties, to the south of the Long Island Rail Road station, except for a stretch along Archer and Jamaica avenues north of the tracks.