|HUD No. 00-31|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Friday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||February 11, 2000|
CUOMO AWARDS $600,000 TO SPARK ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN FAR ROCKAWAY
NEW YORK CITY - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, joined by Congressman Gregory Meeks, today announced $600,000 in HUD assistance to stimulate business investment and job creation in Far Rockaway in Queens.
Speaking at a meeting with local community and business leaders at the Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway, Cuomo said a combination of HUD Community Development Block Grant and HOPE VI technical assistance will be used to develop a blueprint for downtown commercial area redevelopment, boosting retail and private investment in the economically depressed area.
As part of the assistance, HUD is creating a HUD/Columbia University Economic Development Partnership to engage Far Rockaway residents in a concentrated economic development strategic planning process. The partnership with Columbia University will encourage residents to act as community advisors to the economic development team.
The economic revitalization plan will include land use plans for specific, strategic vacant lots as well as other initiatives to attract private investment, and spark the creation of businesses and jobs in the area surrounding the Arverne-Edgemore HOPE VI public housing redevelopment project.
"Today, many communities are reaping the benefits of our booming economy," Secretary Cuomo said. "Now we must turn our attention to places left behind and give them the key to unlock their economic potential."
"These funds are purely based on HUD's commitment to residents of the 6th Congressional District," Congressman Meeks said. "HUD has laid the foundation for the creation of jobs and economic revitalization which will help the overall general welfare of residents of Far Rockaway."
HUD will also dedicate a community builder on HUD's staff to coordinate all HUD services to Far Rockaway. The Far Rockaway community builder will act as the HUD liaison to the community, ensuring smooth coordination of all development activities as well as efficient service delivery.
The Rockaway Peninsula, anchored to Nassau County at its eastern end, separates Jamaica Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. Before the consolidation of New York City in 1898, Rockaway was part of Hempstead. Similar to Coney Island, Rockaway was an exclusive seaside resort in the 19th century. The area was opened to extensive development as a middle-class summer resort and became a thriving community.
Over the last century, a lack of public transportation combined with a shift in vacation patterns caused Far Rockaway to become largely abandoned as a summer resort for vacationing New Yorkers. Today, there is little economic activity in downtown Far Rockaway. While Rockaway has only 5% of the borough's population, it has 25% of the borough's public housing and 50% of its assisted housing. Nearly 25% of Rockaway households have incomes of less than $10,000.