Sept. 14, 2012 — The Queens Economic Development Corporation and New York Community Bancorp joined local elected officials, residents and nonprofits to celebrate the first phase of the renovation of Corona Plaza on Sept. 13.
Located just south of the 7 Train's 103rd Street Station, Corona Plaza (known in the local community as "La Placita") is now a pedestrian haven with new seating, tables, umbrellas, bicycle racks and greenery. It has immediately become a magnet for people looking for a safe place to relax, eat, read, play and even enjoy a game of dominoes.
A second reconstruction phase with more improvements will start next year. The NYC Department of Transportation plans to carry out the next phase based on community input. Already made suggestions include permanent street furniture, flagpoles and a water fountain.
The revamp of this key commercial area has truly been a multi-faceted, community effort. With Borough President Helen M. Marshall's advocacy, the DOT included the site in its Plaza Program. With help from the Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation, QEDC obtained financial commitments from New York Community Bank, the New York Community Bank Foundation and the Richmond County Savings Foundation. City Council Member Julissa Ferreras secured funding to maintain the plaza, while Corona Community Action Now, a merchant group, was involved in every step.
Going forward, QEDC will participate in an innovative maintenance program with The Horticultural Society of New York and ACE, a local employment organization.
"New York Community Bank's support of The Corona Plaza Project allows us to reinforce our commitment to the Queens community in a tangible way," stated Joseph R. Ficalora, President and CEO of New York Community Bancorp. "This revitalized space will beautify an important small business hub and provide the people of Corona with a wonderful place to gather. We are proud to be able to help make this happen for the people of Queens."
"I am beyond pleased that the Corona Plaza project has finally gotten off the ground and the first phase is complete," stated Council Member Ferreras. "It has taken many years of hard work for it to come to fruition and I would like to thank all the community partners. The plaza is a beautiful addition to the neighborhood, providing a safe space for people to relax and children to play. Bringing this pedestrian plaza is part of my healthy community initiative, which will include fitness programming and a green market in the plaza for all to enjoy."
Borough President Marshall added: "I am happy to stand here today to support the next phase of renovation of Corona Plaza. Today's celebration of what has already been done and what will be done also provides a good opportunity to thank all of our partners in government and the private sector for their combined efforts to make Corona Plaza an attractive and open space for local residents."
"We are really excited about Corona Plaza," said QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein. "With this first phase, we already have a great public space that is business and people friendly, and it'll only get better after the second phase. We thank all those who helped us undertake this project and look forward to a great future."
"Corona Plaza serves as a great public space that the community can call their own," added QEDC Neighborhood Development Director Ricardi Calixte. "This will be a place to socialize, dine and enjoy programs that celebrate the diversity of the people of Corona. This project beautifies the core of the Corona shopping district and brings pride to people that call Corona home."
Celebrating the renovation on Sept. 13, 2012 were the following: (front row, from left) Seth Bornstein, Queens Economic Development Corporation; Borough President Helen M. Marshall; Joseph R. Ficalora, New York Community Bancorp; Claire Shulman, Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation; City Council Member Julissa Ferreras; State Assemblymember Francisco P. Moya; Marian Conway, New York Community Bank Foundation; (back row, from left) Tom Finkelpearl, Queens Museum of Art; Andy Wiley-Schwartz, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Planning & Sustainability, NYC Department of Transportation; Kim Seggio, Richmond County Savings Foundation; Maura McCarthy, Queens Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation; Ricardi Calixte, Queens Economic Development Corporation; and Karla Alfano, Corona Community Action Network.