36 THE QUEENS COURIER • FEBRUARY 8, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
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JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS
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STORY: Five students injured after bleach is thrown during a fi ght at
a high school in Bayside
SUMMARY: Cops are pressing charges against a teenage girl who
threw a cup of bleach during a fi ght at Benjamin Cardozo High School
in Bayside on Friday morning.
REACH: 13,081 people (as of 2/5/18)
New Willets Point plan gets it right
At long last, there’s genuine movement on the transformation of Willets
Point from an industrial wasteland into Queens’ newest neighborhood.
On Tuesday, the city announced a new plan to develop six of the 23 acres
encompassing the Iron Triangle. A vast improvement on a 2013 proposal,
this new development plan will bring 1,100 new aff ordable housing units
to Queens — and when they say “aff ordable housing” in this instance, they
actually mean it.
Seventy-one percent of the units to be built in the fi rst phase at Willets
Point will be for families with incomes of less than $85,900. Th ey include 220
apartments for low-income seniors and 99 units for formerly homeless families
of three or more. No such provisions were part of the 2013 plan, but they
are a welcome addition now.
If you’re going to build a new community in this borough, it must be
aff ordable for Queens residents of all income levels. Housing prices are rising
in just about every corner of Queens, and it’s pricing out many longtime
middle-class residents who fl ee to the suburbs or out of state.
Finally, we have a plan at Willets Point that aims to include people of every
income level in this borough. It also includes the things that a community
needs to grow, such as light retail space for shops, offi ces and restaurants,
and a 450-seat public school.
Th e catch, of course, is that it’s a long way from becoming a reality.
Environmental remediation of the six acres has only begun; Queens
Development Group, the organization behind this project, is responsible for
completing it by 2020. Two years later, only 500 of the 1,100 units will be
completed and opened. Th e rest will come within the following two years.
Even with this aff ordable housing plan at Willets Point, the city still needs
to fi gure out a more immediate solution to the borough’s housing aff ordability
crisis. Willets Point isn’t the panacea, but rather just one of many necessary
steps toward keeping Queens aff ordable for everyone.
Moreover, the fate of the remaining 17 acres of what’s called the “Iron
Triangle” is still in doubt. Th e city appointed a task force led by Queens
Borough President Melinda Katz and new Councilman Francisco Moya, who
represents the area, to chart a path forward toward further development of
While considering every idea brought to the table, we believe that the task
force would be best served following a path similar to this new fi rst phase —
to build more aff ordable housing, shops, offi ces and educational spaces. Th at
would truly cement Willets Point’s future as the next great Queens community.