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Plans for QueensWay Park Project Move Forward

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | June 7, 2013 1:42pm | Updated on June 7, 2013 5:02pm
 Advocates for the QueensWay want to turn a 3.5 mile stretch of abandoned railroad tracks into a High Line-style park.
Advocates for the QueensWay want to turn a 3.5 mile stretch of abandoned railroad tracks into a High Line-style park.
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Friends of The QueensWay/ Facebook

QUEENS — An organization advocating for the QueensWay — which would transform the abandoned Queens rail line into a park similar to Manhattan's High Line — will soon choose a company to conduct a feasibility study and ultimately to create the design for the project, officials said Friday.

The Trust for Public Land issued a request for proposals in March, looking for a firm to conduct the study regarding the proposed park along 3.5 miles of the abandoned Rockaway Line, which used to connect Forest Hills, Rego Park, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park, before it closed in 1962.

The organization received 29 proposals from all over the world and is now negotiating with the final two companies, said Marc Matsil, the state's director for the Trust for Public Land.

“They both have a very significant community-engagement piece and both of them have very strong environmental and structural engineering components,” Matsil said about the proposals.

The winning company will be announced sometime in June or early July, according to Matsil. The study will cost about $400,000, and it will take less than a year to complete.

Last year, the project received a $467,000 grant for the study from the state.

The analysis will estimate the cost of construction, determine the levels of erosion and check the structural integrity of the elevated rail line. It will also look at any potential contaminants along the tracks.

The winning firm will then work with the community on developing a design.

QueensWay supporters aim to build a “Cultural Greenway," spotlighting more than 100 ethnic groups that live in Queens. They also plan to involve students from schools located near the abandoned tracks and ask them for their opinions for the proposed park.

“The sky is the limit,” said Matsil about the future design.

If the study determines that the project is feasible, the organization will have to raise funds for the proposed QueensWay. As of now, Matsil said, the Trust for Public Land raised about $1 million from private philanthropists, several foundations, the state and the city.

The project faces opposition from various groups and elected officials, including Rep. Gregory Meeks and Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, who propose to reactivate the train service.