Weeks after former state senator and councilman Hiram Monserrate unveiled his priorities for the area, Moya put out his own proposal, which includes 100 percent affordable housing. The assemblyman wants one-third of the affordable units to be reserved for people making $25,000 a year or less.
Moya also proposes a 65 percent guarantee for any jobs and small businesses, including construction, to go to minority and women-owned businesses (MWBEs). He called for half of permanent jobs going to residents living within the local community board.
“Queens deserves a world-class project that looks toward the future and rejects the failures of the past,” Moya said. “Any future negotiations for this blighted community must meet stringent thresholds that benefit working families and seniors here in East Elmhurst and Corona.”
Other aspects of his plan include extensive environmental remediation, a dedicated funding stream to make improvements at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and the creation of the “World’s Borough Market,” which would house local vendors.
To drum up public support for his plan, Moya will look to create a community advisory council for local residents to voice their opinions on the development of Willets Point. Adjacent community board members, civic associations and business improvement districts will all be invited to join, he said.
The advisory council mirrors the planning process behind the Essex Street Market in the Lower East Side, Moya said. In that case, a task force met with the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Department of Housing Preservation (HPD) to voice community concerns.
The future of Willets Point is up in the air after an Appeals Court ruled against the city and developers’ bid to build a mega-mall, parking lot and other amenities in the area. The court struck down the plan because the mall would have been built on public parkland, which requires state approval to convert into other uses.
As the city mulls its options for the future of the area, a City Council race for an open seat, soon to be vacated by outgoing Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, may determine what happens next at Willets Point.
Monserrate’s plan calls for 5,500 units of 100 percent affordable housing, space for new schools, community facilities and senior centers, environmental remediation and parkland preservation, among other demands.
Make Queens Safer co-founder Cristina Furlong and local activities Yonel Sosa and Erycka Montoya have also entered the race.
In his release announcing the plan, Moya took a shot at Monserrate, calling him “scandal-tarred” and asserting that his deal with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg led to “a decade of inaction and stagnation.”
“We must be bold,” Moya said. “I want to see more jobs in our neighborhoods, a requirement to help minority and women-owned businesses from start to execution, a major economic engine, and the largest affordable housing complex on the development book in our city.”