city park at dawn

A number of changes have taken place in New York City since Mayor de Blasio came into office. Many of these have included working toward accomplishing his vision of creating more affordable living options for city residents. With an election coming up soon, de Blasio has been increasingly reminding voters about his plans for the city in terms of affordable housing as well as plans for taxing the rich and improving upon the subway system. In the meantime, action is still being taken at the local level as areas are rezoned in order to create better opportunities for neighborhoods while bringing in more affordable housing. Among these changes is the recent decision to rezone Far Rockaway to clear a path for hundreds of millions of dollars in investments.

Far Rockaway Rezoning Receives Approval

The City Council’s zoning and franchises subcommittee has voted to approve the rezoning of Far Rockaway. Spearheaded by local City Council member Donovan Richards, the rezoning effort will clear the way for new green space, improvements to local schools, affordable housing, new commercial space and more. Altogether, the rezoning will allow $288 million to be invested in Far Rockaway. In doing so, the City Council hopes to allow Far Rockaway to enjoy the benefits from the amenities that many other communities in the city enjoy, such as parks, streetscape, quality jobs, infrastructure and transit improvements.

Some highlights of the investments that are planned for the neighborhood include:

  • Building a new park on a vacant parcel of land owned by the city
  • Building a new Queens Library branch at the intersection of Central and Mott avenues
  • Making upgrades to the existing school playgrounds, auditoriums, libraries and science labs
  • Ensuring new housing built on land owned by the city is affordable
  • Expanding existing sidewalks
  • Building new public plazas
  • Improving the sewer system
  • Piloting a free shuttle to connect the existing NYC ferry stop to Beach 108th Street

This type of rezoning is the second of this type to be completed under the de Blasio administration, with the other being the rezoning of East New York. A proposed rezoning of East Harlem is also currently in progress, though it has been met with increasing opposition from the community.

Looking Toward the Future with Mayor de Blasio

Mayor de Blasio has been on the campaign circuit, granting interviews to share his future plans for the city if he is reelected. Among these is his commitment to bring more affordable housing to the city. According to the mayor, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure people of all background are able to find an affordable place to live. The mayor has also spoken candidly about the city’s worsening income inequality, stating that there are only a few ways to address the rampant growth of wealth among the one percent. One method that he supports is taxing the wealthy to fund pre-K education, to help fix the subways and to provide for half-cost fares for low-income individuals.

In further addressing the subway, the mayor maintains that the state needs to fund the MTA appropriately. This would include giving back the $456 million that was diverted in MTA funds.

Most consider de Blasio to be a shoo-in for winning the upcoming election. If he does get reelected, it will be interesting to see if his long-term vision comes to fruition.

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