Residents can help decide how $4.5 million in state funding is allocated

(June 29, 2023 at 2:30pm)

QUEENS, NY – Following Governor Hochul’s February 2023 announcement that Far Rockaway would receive a $4.5 million grant through New York State’s NY Forward program, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and the Queens Chamber of Commerce today announced an open call for proposals from Far Rockaway residents to help determine how that funding should be allocated.

“From historic investments in healthcare, libraries and affordable housing, Far Rockaway is in the midst of a true renaissance. With this important investment through Governor Hochul’s NY Forward plan, we will make this tight-knit community an even stronger place to live, work and play,” said Borough President RICHARDS. “Together with all our community leaders and residents across Far Rockaway, I know we will jointly put forth a number of impactful proposals that will benefit all our families who proudly call this community home.”

“The NY Forward Program will help kick start our economic recovery, ensuring that downtowns throughout the state have the resources they need to create jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers, and we are delighted that Governor Hochul has awarded $4.5 million to Far Rockaway through this initiative,” said Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO TOM GRECH. “I look forward to working with Borough President Donovan Richards and all stakeholders in the area to ensure that this money funds projects that further enhance Far Rockaway’s vibrant small business community.”

The open call for project proposals is open to any organization or individual with ideas for capital improvements within the Far Rockaway – NY Forward study area, which includes commercial sections of Mott Avenue, Central Avenue, Cornaga Avenue, Beach Channel Drive and Beach 19th, 20th and 21st Streets.

To be eligible for consideration, projects must:

To submit a proposal or learn more about project eligibility, click here.

Project submissions will be evaluated by NY Forward’s Far Rockaway Local Planning Committee (LPC), a group of community leaders appointed by Governor Hochul and co-chaired by Borough President Richards and Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech.

In addition to the open call for proposals, there will be several public engagement sessions where Far Rockaway residents can provide input on the NY Forward planning process. The first public engagement session will take place on Monday, July 17 at 6:30 pm at a location to be determined, with additional sessions being announced in the weeks ahead.

Meetings of the Far Rockaway LPC are also open to the public. Click here for a full list of upcoming events.

“The $4.5M Far Rockaway NY Forward award provides another opportunity for us to enhance the quality of life for both our longstanding residents as well as those who now call Far Rockaway home through the transformational Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project,” said Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation President and CEO KEVIN ALEXANDER. “RDRC is pleased to be a member of the Far Rockaway Local Planning Committee and looks forward to working with Co-Chairs Donovan Richards, Jr. Tom Grech, and the entire Committee.”

“It is a unique honor to serve alongside Borough President Richards and our longtime collaborator Kevin Alexander at RDRC on this impactful committee. This NY Forward award will help continue the incredible progress we and so many others have made toward the revitalization of downtown Far Rockaway,” said The Community Builders Vice President JESSE BATUS. “My deepest thanks to Governor Hochul and all our dedicated partners on the peninsula for their unwavering commitment to building a brighter Far Rockaway.”

“Since its establishment in 1999, Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for Rockaway residents. Our ongoing commitment to this mission is strengthened through our services of providing over 100 weekly rides of free transportation for residents, facilitating access to medical appointments, providing residents with wrap-around referrals to partnering community-based organizations (CBOs), and access to shopping in Downtown Rockaway,” said Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation Executive Director EBONY BEATY. “While NY Forward has undoubtedly contributed to the positive trajectory of our flourishing Rockaway community, I firmly believe that achieving true success for the NY Forward initiative will require fostering equity and inclusion across all socioeconomic sectors throughout the Rockaway peninsula.”

“As a lifelong member of the Far Rockaway community, it is an honor to serve as a member of the Local Planning Committee for this project,” said Refuge Church of Christ Pastor RASAHN STALEY. “Borough President Richards’ commitment to bringing equity and access to neighborhoods across our borough is inspiring.”

“It’s a great pleasure to see many new figures from our Far Rockaway community emerge together to make a positive impact,” said Tri-Med Home Care Services President and CEO VINOD SINHA. “Our mission to serve the least, the last and the lost has been at the heart of our community that we live in. With everyone’s support, we hope to continue spread our smile throughout every community and their members.”

“The NY Forward Program is opening the doors of opportunities to create spaces and places for marginalized artists,” said local artist SHENNA VAUGHN.

Follow the Office of the Queens Borough President via @QnsBPRichards on Twitter and @QueensBPRichards on Facebook and Instagram