Queens Borough President Melinda Katz shared her vision on how to promote economic growth in Queens before an audience of small business owners and economic development leaders who attended her “Queens Small Business Meet and Greet” this morning in Queens Borough Hall.

     During the event, Katz announced she is forming an economic development advisory council that will work with her on issues related to the borough’s business climate and her efforts to promote economic growth in Queens. Some of the attendees at this morning’s event, which was attended by more than 100 business owners and leaders of merchant associations, local development corporations and business improvement districts, may be asked to join this council, which will advise the Borough President as she crafts her borough-wide economic master plan for Queens.

     “It is my firm belief that all Queens residents should be able to find employment without having to cross a bridge or go through a tunnel, so I am very happy to be able to work with our borough’s small business community to spur job growth in Queens,” Katz said.  “I welcome the input that small business owners have provided me about their challenges and success stories. Small businesses are the bedrock of our borough’s economy. I am committed to supporting them, and their experiences will serve as a guide to my efforts to unlock our borough’s economic potential and achieve greater prosperity for all of our residents.”

     Among the topics Katz discussed this morning is the priority she has given to ensuring our borough’s real estate development projects maximize job creation for Queens residents. She said she aims to use project labor agreements and job fairs to make sure the job and procurement opportunities produced by these projects go to residents of the communities where they are being built.

    She also said she would seek to expand transportation options in ways that promote economic growth. She is working with the MTA to establish additional bus routes that will connect the borough’s tech businesses and industrial zones and is committed to making ferry service to and from the Rockaways permanent.

     Katz added that she will strive to promote Queens as a cohesive brand by working with the borough’s cultural institutions to market lesser known attractions, restaurants and other businesses to those who come to already come to Queens to attend Mets games or the U.S. Open or to visit the Resorts World casino or the PS 1 art museum. This effort will include the creation of branding materials that will market Queens as one of the world’s most culturally diverse places with the greatest food, arts, sports and historical attractions.

     Additional, Katz said she would work on attracting more new tech businesses to Queens, on identifying major project development opportunities in individual neighborhoods and on strengthening manufacturing and industrial business opportunities.