JACKSON HEIGHTS — A local pedestrian plaza will be getting more seats, better lighting and maps thanks to funding from the area's councilman and the city.
City Councilman Daniel Dromm announced plans to allocate $500,000 from his discretionary funds to pay for improvements to Diversity Plaza, which is on 37th Road between 73rd and 74th streets in Jackson Heights.
The plaza will receive additional seating, improved lighting and community maps with directions to the plaza once it becomes permanent, he said.
“These improvements will go a long way to build out an asset that our community has come to adopt as a town square," Dromm said. The plan should be implemented within the year, his office said.
In addition to the funds from Dromm's office, the Department of Transportation has earmarked $2 million to make even more changes to the plaza — changes which residents will be able to discuss and vote on at a meeting later this fall.
The money could go towards things like an improved street structure and a public pay toilet, the councilman said.
“Diversity Plaza is a result of tremendous community effort, from the intensive transportation planning sessions that developed it, to the efforts of the local merchants and civic groups that are now sustaining it,” said Andy Wiley-Schwartz, an assistant commissioner at the DOT.
The street was closed and turned into a pedestrian plaza in 2011. It is currently in its temporary design phase, but the additional money will help transition it into a permanent space.