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Resiliency and Affordability Focus of Edgemere Planning Study

By Katie Honan | September 24, 2016 11:58am | Updated on September 26, 2016 8:39am

EDGEMERE — A new supermarket, increased resiliency measures, and better streets and sidewalks are part of a plan to reinvigorate the bayside Queens neighborhood of Edgemere, officials said. 

City officials released their report on the Resilient Edgemere Community Planning Initiative on Saturday, which completes a year of planning workshops in the neighborhood on the low-lying Rockaway peninsula.

Around 250 people attended the workshops, and questionnaires were sent to the neighborhood's 1,700 households, according to the city.

The plan features a five-year timeline of work that's focused on protecting the area from future flooding, creating more commercial opportunities and building affordable housing, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. 

The city nearly 20 years ago designated Edgemere as an urban renewal area, but work and progress has since stalled, according to City Councilman Donovan Richards. 

Residents lack resources, and even the streets and sidewalks need major work. At the workshops, officials found residents desired basic improvements like better transportation, stores and flood protection. 

"Many of their ideas in particular is stuff that was promised," he said. 

Major issues found through the workshops included protection from the flooding that's common during rain storms and high tides — with an eye towards future storms similar to Hurricane Sandy. 

"We want to find ways to alleviate tidal flooding as we wait for FEMA funding" for larger projects, he said. 

Part of the resiliency measures include long-term buyout options for homes closest to Jamaica Bay, officials said. So far, five homeowners have agreed to be relocated. While the city won't force anyone out, they "wanted to make sure that there were options," according to Richards. 

Throughout the Urban Renewal process, residents were promised more commercial development, but the plans never came to fruition, he said. 

A new supermarket on NYCHA-owned land by the Beach 41st Street Houses will be built over the next two years, officials said. 

In addition to better streets — which recently underwent a massive rebuilding and repaving project — residents spoke about better traffic signals and more green spaces. 

And a major component to the study was maintaining residential affordability, even as major investment comes through.

"We want to make sure that even as property values go up we're not pricing people out," Richards said.