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Willets Point, Flushing study sought by city

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With malls, hotels, and businesses cramming into every available square foot, downtown Flushing has changed tremendously in recent years.

Community leaders have complained, however, that such growth, driven by private dollars, has been disorganized and piecemeal.

In an attempt to better plan future projects, the city Economic Development Corporation, city Department of Planning, and the Downtown Flushing Working Group, a coalition of local officials and community leaders, issued a request for proposals for a study of future development of downtown Flushing, the Flushing River and Willets Point Monday.

Private consultant firms are to turn in proposals for a study by Oct. 28.

The city will then provide the winning firm $200,000 to conduct its survey, said Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing).

“Downtown Flushing is already one of the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods in the city,” said EDC President Andrew Alper in a news release. “This new commitment of resources will provide an excellent opportunity to create a more attractive community that responds to what the local businesses and residents needs and deserve.”

A similar study was produced by City Planning in 1993. The new study will differ from 1993’s work in that it will focus on linking Willets Point to downtown Flushing.

Willets Point itself has become more of a topic of development recently. A year ago an international conference on the 55 acres of scrap metal, auto salvage businesses and factories was conducted by the Toronto-based Waterfront Regeneration Trust, a non-profit environmental group.

Marilyn Bitterman, district manager for Community Board 7, said the study would provide Flushing with a concrete model.

“Right now we don’t have anything other than the idea that we want to do something,” Bitterman said.

Liu said the study would focus on 11 separate points, such as the condition of the Flushing River and the feasibility of installing sewers in Willets Point.

Liu said the $200,000 study would not be extremely in-depth undertaking.

“I’m not sure how detailed it can be,” he said. “I think it’s a starting point. I’m happy that they are doing something.”

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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