Development of the Iron Triangle has been promised to the people of Queens for years. The City Council approved a plan in 2008 that was slowly changed and became unrecognizable to many who originally agreed to it.
So you’ll excuse us if we remain skeptical about the plan approved by the City Council on Wednesday, promising a go-ahead for a project that has been promised since before many of the current City Council had even been elected. By the time the project is finalized, who knows how many will have come and gone.
Jobs are important, bringing more tax dollars to the Borough is important. A new retail and entertainment center will bring those things to Queens. An added concession to the deal – millions of dollars to the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance – is a nice touch. But the proposal still falls short of what is most needed here.
It seems as though no one was willing to push on the need for affordable housing sooner rather than later. The need for ramps at the Van Wyck is the hold-up, but construction of the ramps won’t even start until 2021. By then, who knows how bad the need for affordable housing will be.
Affordable housing is not a profitable enterprise. Because it will never be a money-maker, we need our elected officials to hold developers’ feet to the fire and force them to provide it, but the City Council continues to let that slide.
We shall see how this project eventually turns out, but don’t be surprised if those housing units never get built.