Downtown Jamaica, which has been called one of New York's next hot spots, is getting a $10 million boost by the state — as the Queens neighborhood continues its ongoing revitalization efforts.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who grew up in the borough, first laid out the Downtown Revitalization Initiative in his 2016 State of the State address and announced the first-place winner at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center on Wednesday.
The initiative's aim is to revitalize local communities into vibrant parts of the city to attract the next generation of New Yorkers.
Jamaica was chosen as the winner in the competition from 120 applications by the state's New York City Regional Economic Development Council and will receive $10 million for efforts to make Downtown Jamaica a bustling urban center to live, work and play.
"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 have every piece you could possibly need," Cuomo said. "You just need the funds, that start-up capital, the investment – York College, start-up program – you just need the investment to bring it together and to get it kick started. That is the program that the state put out for a competition."
Jamaica is already poised to be one of the next hot neighborhoods, according to a 2015 study, and instated a revitalization plan, Jamaica Now Action Plan, last year. "Jamaica's rise comes from a number of favorable factors, including a healthy growth in population, strong growth in interest among buyers and renters, comparatively low prices, and convenient access to the New York City subway,” Alan Lightfeldt, a StreetEasy data scientist, said.
The $10 million award will include up to $300,000 in planning funds for private sector experts to work with a local planning committee to draft a "Strategic Investment Plan" that will identify specific economic development, transportation and housing projects. The plan has to be completed by 2017.
"I was with my father, a young fella, one of his first campaigns and he was at an editorial board in Manhattan," Cuomo said. "He was going on and on about inequality, my father, economic inequality and the editorial directors said to my father, 'You seem like you have a chip on your shoulder, Mario.' My father said, 'I do have a chip on my shoulder. I grew up in the place that you people forgot about and you people don’t care about. In my community we didn’t have the success and there was nobody helping us.'
"That is true. New York City is doing great, yes. But, the greatest feast is the feast with the most people at the table."