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Queens Chronicle

Katz puts forth her economic platform

Tech, transportation, Rockaways are key

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:30 am

Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz on Wednesday released the outlines of a nine-point economic development plan she said she will implement to create jobs and sustainable development in Queens while also rebuilding areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The former city councilwoman and state assemblywoman said her experience in government will be key in getting the job done.

“Having chaired the Land Use Committee in the Council and having served as Director of Community Boards, I have the experience and vision needed to use all levers at my disposal in the Borough President’s Office to create jobs and grow the economy,” Katz said in announcing the plan.

“I will hold Land Use hearings to inform the zoning and planning decisions that shape the borough and developments that will introduce new jobs,” she added. “My influence on the capital and expense budgets can be leveraged to improve job-creating projects across the borough.”

And by fully leaning on the BP’s bully pulpit, Katz said, “my office can attract new businesses in thriving industries like healthcare and technology to the borough of Queens.”

The plan is an ambitions one, tough the first item under the heading of her economic development plan is creation of said plan.

Katz believes the need to rebuild areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy a year ago brings an opportunity for new construction jobs.

While she says rebuilding areas along the Rockaways’ beaches and boardwalk would stimulate tourism, Katz also wrote of the need protect area businesses and low-income homeowners.

And she said the city, state and federal governments all must be brought to the table to come up with a long-term plan to protect the peninsula and other vulnerable low-lying areas from future storms.

For transportation, Katz envisions an expansion of existing bus service to and from the Rockaways, and making expanded ferry service permanent.

Katz also wants to examine the possibility of ferry service to Astoria and Roosevelt Island.

On the culture and tourism front, she wants to develop a strong marketing campaign aimed at attracting more people from the other boroughs and the remainder of the tristate area.

She would lobby city tourism officials to feature Queens events and attractions more prominently.

This would go particularly for so-called secondary attractions that would get visitors from out of town coming to places like Citi Field, the National Tennis Center and the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack.

During her campaign Katz placed great emphasis on the need to attract and keep new technology businesses, ones that would fit in with the Cornell Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island and the high-tech hub that has been developing in and around Long Island City.

She considers tax breaks, incubator space and state and city grants as keys to bringing that to fruition.

Calling small businesses “the lifeblood of the community and local communities,” the Borough President-elect wants to work with local chambers of commerce and business improvement districts to tailor programs to local needs while improving overall access to information, capital and essential services.

She also wants to work with the city’s Planning Department to identify sites suitable for redevelopment, parks, office and industrial space and housing.

Katz also said areas such as the Rockaways, East Elmhurst south of LaGuardia Airport and portions of Ozone Park could benefit from long-overdue rezoning.

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