Coalition calls on city to reclaim land at Willets Point
by Austin Havens-Bowen
Dec 18, 2018 | 819 views | 0 0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A new group calling itself Nos Quedamos Queens (We Stay Queens) announced its formation last week at Willets Point, the 23-acre plot of land across from Citi Field that has been the focus of an ambitious redevelopment plan for a decade.

“The coalition speaks to the issues of community and the grassroots organizations that are fighting for fundamental fairness,” said Hiram Monserrate, who negotiated the original 2008 plan for Willets Point when he was a member of the City Council. “There are acres of city-owned property that are vacant and ready-to-use, and we say that they should be used for desperately needed affordable housing.”

Nos Quedamos is calling on Mayor de Blasio to reclaim two of the 23 acres at Willets Point by a December 20 deadline, at which point it will become the permanent property of Queens Development Group.

The city sold the land to Queens Development Group for $1 as part of a former redevelopment plan. But a judge ruled the proposal could not go forward, and since then Queens Development Group has held on to the property.

Members of Nos Quedamos want the city to take back the property and build affordable housing.

“We were promised 5,500 units of housing, with a minimum of 2,000 affordable and low-income units, would be built as the next great community in New York City,” said Monserrate. “What we see years later is that the promise was broken.

“Our community doesn’t need a parking lot, a mall, an Airtrain or another stadium,” he added. “We need affordable housing, good schools and an MTA that works. We need to direct public resources for the real needs of the people and not giveaways to Amazon and the big developers.”

Recently, the mayor proposed 1,100 affordable units on six acres in western Willets Point.

“There are 40 percent of New Yorkers living in poverty right now as we are speaking today,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who joined coalition members for the announcement. “The city should honor the agreement and they should allow for those two acres to be used only for community interests.”
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