BY TRONE DOWD
At Community Board 12’s final meeting of the year, Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens) dropped by to inform constituents on the latest happenings related to the state’s $10 billion redevelopment project at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
In the neighborhoods of Southeast Queens, many of which surround JFK, the development of the nation’s busiest airport has been a double-edged sword. While the prospect of employment opportunities and amenities is mostly supported by residents, many worry that more financially lucrative opportunities—such as building contracts—will be scooped up by businesses outside of the community. Hyndman told residents on Wednesday night that she met with other elected officials in Southeast Queens to discuss what they can do about this concern.
“We want to make sure that the airport, in 20 or 30 years, when we’re gone from this community, is still a viable place of employment,” she said. “The planes fly over our heads, the cars drive through our neighborhoods. It’s only fair that this community has a say in what jobs come through the airport. We’re not talking about retail jobs. We’re talking about the jobs in labor, in management, in the Port Authority and other opportunities as they come along.”
Hyndman said to combat the chance of Southeast Queens being left behind in this process, she and her colleagues in state and city government are compiling a list of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) based out of their districts. They hope to connect these businesses to the opportunities directly as they pop up.
Hyndman said that residents should notify her office or the offices of Assemblyman Clyde Vanel (Laurelton), state Sens. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park) and Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Assemblywomen Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica) and Michele Titus (D-South Ozone Park) if they know of any businesses that are not city or state certified.
“We all need to know who these businesses are,” Hyndman said. “And if they’re small businesses, we need them to work together to create capacity. We want to make sure that when these bids [for contract work] come out, they can compete.”
Hyndman noted on Wednesday that she and her colleagues failed to capitalize on connecting constituents with available opportunities at the massive $8 billion LaGuardia Airport revitalization project.
“We made some mistakes when it came to LaGuardia,” she said. “We want to make sure that we don’t make those same mistakes when it comes to right here in Southeast Queens.”
A town hall on JFK redevelopment opportunities is being planned for early January. No date has been set.