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HPPC calls for recreational space to be included in development of Hunters Point South

The Oval at Hunters Point South Park, Dec. 2, 2020 (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

April 30, 2024 By Queens Post News Team

The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy (HPPC), a non-profit organization that helps manage Long Island City’s waterfront parks, is calling on the city to provide a multi-purpose sports facility for local schools and residents as it looks to complete the massive Hunters Point South affordable housing development. 

The City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) plans to develop the two remaining city-owned parcels of land on the Long Island City waterfront – Parcels D and E – and is hosting a Community Visioning Workshop on Wednesday, May 1, from 6-8 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services at 43-31 39th St. 

The meeting will focus on Parcel E, and the public can submit comments on what they believe the development site should or should not include.

Rendering of Hunters Point South development

In February, the HPD announced plans to build up to 900 apartments on Parcel E, with at least 60% of units earmarked to be affordable. 

Parcel E sits just north of the Gotham Point complex where the Newtown Creek meets the East River and west of the massive Malt Drive development. It is one of seven city-owned sites that makes up the Hunters Point South development, which covers a 30-acre area along the Long Island City waterfront.

The city has developed five of the seven sites, building more than 3,000 units, commercial retail space, and community facilities. Parcels D and E are the only sites yet to be developed, and the city has announced that it is ready to build them. 

The city is set to issue two separate request-for-proposals (RFP), one for each of the two sites. 

HPPC, which advocates for the green spaces along the Long Island City waterfront, is calling on the HPD to develop Parcels D and E in unison to ensure that affordable housing and recreational space are included in the development. 

HPPC President Rob Basch urged members of the community to attend Wednesday’s meeting to demand that active sports space be included in the development of Hunters Point South. 

“They (the HPD) say they want to have a visioning session, that they want to hear what the community wants. I think they’ll hear that the community needs active sports space,” Basch said. “We need an active sports space, not a property with a courtyard in the middle where 10 people can sit and read a book. That’s not what we’re looking for.” 

Basch noted that Long Island City boasts the fastest-growing population in the city. He added that Long Island City’s parks and green spaces have not kept pace with the rapid rise in population, pointing to a 2021 Open Spaces Profile from Partnership for Parks that ranked the district 57 out of 59 in New York for parks and open spaces. 

We all recognize the need for more affordable housing. However, Long Island City and particularly the Hunters Point area has done more than its share to address these issues,” Basch said.   

“Our council district is ranked 57th out of 59 districts in terms of the percentage of parks and green spaces in our community. In order to have a healthy, growing, sustainable and happy community we need more parks and green spaces.” 

Basch said there are three schools situated within two blocks of Parcel E, adding that school children are currently forced to play on the Oval, a multi-function green space located in Hunters Point South Park. 

The Oval is not adequate. It’s not really a sports field and to have three classes playing flag football is not appropriate,” Basch said. “My feeling is that if you get a nice sports field in there, the schools will be able to use it during the day, and then at night and on weekends, it will be available for community use.

“In the overall picture, if you don’t have essential green spaces, you’re not going to have a healthy growing community. Kids need a place to run. Running around the Oval is not really sufficient,” Basch added. “An indoor gym is nice, but being outdoors in the fresh air is essential.” 

HPPC said in a statement that the Hunters Point area has “done more than its fair share” to address the issue of affordable housing in the city and said the neighborhood “urgently” needs recreational space.

We encourage HPD to think creatively on how both Parcels can be considered in unison to provide the housing and recreational space that is urgently needed,” HPPC said in a statement. 

“We know how essential parks are to mental and physical health, and we cannot have a healthy growing community without the appropriate parks and green spaces. We now have an opportunity to help correct some of these past shortages. New and existing residents deserve access to safe, clean, and welcoming open space.” 

The HPD’s announcement of plans to develop Parcel E in February coincided with its study finding that affordable apartme

gives us a great opportunity to make up lots of ground in our fight to create the housing our city desperately needs,” HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. said on Feb. 8.

The planned development of Parcel E is part of the HPD’s efforts to plan affordable housing projects on 24 public sites by the end of 2024. 

We look forward to working with community residents to craft a vision for this site and see that vision come to fruition,” Carrión Jr. added. 

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