A $10 million initiative is underway to transform downtown Jamaica by creating jobs and boosting the local economy. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.
A standing ovation for Governor Andrew Cuomo and the $10 million dollar grant set to transform downtown Jamaica.
"Let's make Jamaica shine, let's make Queens shine the way it should," said Cuomo.
It's all part of the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative competition. The New York City Regional Economic Development Council selected Jamaica, Queens as the winning neighborhood out of more than 120 applications. Cuomo says the initiative was designed to help under-served or overlooked communities that already have the infrastructure to support growth and development.
"Jamaica, you have the transportation hub. You have the housing, you have the business, you have the cultural centers; you have the workforce. You have everything. You just need the funds, the start-up capital, the investment," said Cuomo.
The new funds come in addition to a $153 million investment from the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Money from the EDC’s separate Jamaica NOW Action Plan goes toward small businesses, open space, public safety, and affordable housing.
Borough President Melinda Katz praised the new investment from the state. She says Jamaica’s proximity to Kennedy Airport has the potential to make it a must-visit tourist destination.
"Funds should be utilized to remind people, 'hey, come here, spend your money here; see our cultural [attractions] here. You haven't seen New York City until you've seen Jamaica, Queens," said Katz.
One part of the criteria for the state contest is commitment among local leaders and stakeholders to come up with an investment plan for the area. Officials say working together is the key to success.
"So that we're working as concert to create the greatest economic opportunity for the people that live and work in Jamaica," said Hope Knight, President/CEO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
The grant is just one part of a $100 million dollar effort to revitalize downtown districts across the state. Plans are slated to be complete by early 2017.