The septic tank days of Willets Point — that ramshackle industrial triangle near Citi Field that awaits a Bloomberg-style makeover — may be coming to an end. At least that’s what the city’s Economic Development Corporation announced last Thursday, when the agency said it would put $100 million dollars into 14 capital projects in Queens.
Over the years the businesses of that yonder region have learned to live without a sewer system, which really hasn’t bothered them as much as the potholes and environmental hazards. Because the area lies in a floodplain, it would take a massive engineering effort to connect it to the sewer grid of the rest of the borough.
For decades, that effort was apparently too much for lawmakers to undertake. But now that the Bloomberg administration has won the right to rezone the area — making way for a hotel and giant convention center, shops, a school, and promised mixed-income apartments — a long-awaited sewer system will be put into place.
Unfortunately, the locals won’t be able to enjoy it.
(Some of them sued the city last year, claiming that the area had been purposefully neglected). The local businesses are being relocated by the Economic Development Corporation. Four tenants have already been moved to new sites in nearby College Point. The new sites have functioning sewer systems, says EDC spokesman David Lombino. But Lombino says the agency can’t guarantee that all the tenants will be moved to sites that have them.
Design is expected to begin at the end of this year. The city plans to clean up the widespread pollution in the area and turn Willet’s Point into a LEED-certified neighborhood.
Photo (cc) nickjohnson.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 4, 2009