A local councilmember says the future is bright for downtown Far Rockaway. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.
Calvin Thompson has been cutting hair at Platinum Plus Unisex on Mott Avenue for 25 years.
He says Far Rockaway could be a business destination but the neighborhood needs some upgrades.
"We'd like to see the ambiance change and so that we can attract more business to the neighborhood," said Thompson.
Councilmember Donovan Richards agrees. That's why he's working with a task force to redevelop and establish the neighborhood as the commercial and transportation hub for the Rockaway peninsula.
"The community came up with a multitude of different options that they want to see down here. And we're excited to get this rolling, and excited for the future of downtown Far Rockaway," said Richards.
A group of local stakeholders came up with a list of goals like attracting diverse businesses, improving transportation and housing options, to name a few.
The group sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio enlisting the city's help.
"The plan that's being developed now really reflects what this community wants and we're very excited to be a part of that," said Kevin Alexander, the President of Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation.
Officials say creating more jobs to strengthen the local workforce is crucial.
The peninsula's only hospital, St. John's Episcopal, is working to rebuild its infrastructure and expand its services.
"We want to continue creating high value, great jobs in the community, and as we expand on the peninsula, as we see growth on the peninsula, we are going to do that," said Suzanne Timmer, the Vice President of Development for St. John's Episcopal Hospital.
Councilmember Richards says this shopping center has the potential to be an anchor in downtown Far Rockaway. His recommendation includes a plan for mixed-income housing as well as room for commercial and community space.
"This site, in particular, downtown presents a huge opportunity," said Richards.
A spokesperson for the city's economic development corporation tells NY1 in part quote "We look forward to continuing the process to create meaningful development that will benefit the people and businesses of Far Rockaway."
Something local workers, like Thompson, hope will make the community a cut above the rest.