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Staten Island Considering Ways to Boost Economic Recovery

A new report details the ideas, from gondolas to light rails to new affordable housing communities, that the New York City borough has proposed as ways to help stimulate the post-pandemic economy.

(TNS) — From aerial gondolas and light rails, to the development of new affordable housing communities, Staten Islanders have some big ideas to help fuel New York City's ongoing recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Earlier this month, some of the borough's business leaders and top educators contributed to a new report from the Center for an Urban Future titled, "250 Ideas from New Yorkers to Revive NYC's Economy, Spark Good Jobs, and Build a More Equitable City," urging policy makers to consider recovery plans from some of the city's most knowledgable residents.


Cesar Claro, president of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC), submitted a suggestion that the city support transportation alternatives for residents wary of returning to buses and trains.

"Many New Yorkers are afraid to return to their previous public transportation commuting methods. The city can address this by embracing — and expanding — alternative transportation options that are perceived to be cleaner and safer," according to the report.

Claro suggested that the city start with proven measures, like installing bike lanes and developing open-space projects like the High Line.

In recent years, the SIEDC has tried to bring a High Line-like park to Staten Island, soliciting input for a potential Staten Island Skyway, located on an elevated North Shore railway in Port Richmond.

Claro also encouraged the city to continue its ongoing investment in electric vehicles and charging stations, as well as consider large-scale projects, like light rails and aerial gondolas, two other projects the SIEDC has pushed for in recent years.


Linda Baran, president of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, submitted an idea suggesting that the city work with community-based organizations and business assistance non-profits to ensure that federal relief grants are directed toward the businesses and communities that were hit hardest by the pandemic.

"The city should work more closely with non-profit organizations on the ground in communities that provide technical assistance to allocate city, state and federal funding where it is most needed. Community-based organizations understand the needs of the communities they serve, and should be empowered to direct relief and assistance accordingly," according to the report.


Jonathan Peters, a finance professor at the College of Staten Island, submitted two ideas for the report, one regarding transportation and another focused on the providing affordable housing.

The first idea called for an extension of New Jersey's Hudson Bergen Light Rail onto Staten Island.

"By bringing this system across the Bayonne Bridge and extending the line south across the Island, the city could expand the footprint of quality transportation into a region that currently has poor mass transit options, in turn expanding employment opportunities to a community on the West Shore of Staten Island," according to the report.

The second idea suggested that the city expand affordable housing by allowing the development of new trailer parks in New York City.

"The decades-long success of the Goethals Community on the north shore of Staten Island, the sole trailer park in New York City, provides strong evidence that the city should be open to new, old, and perhaps unconventional urban housing ideas," according to the report.

Peters argues that changing the city's policy to allow for new trailer park projects would be a win-win in both the short- and long-term, creating new construction jobs during the development process and providing additional affordable housing opportunities down the road.


The report features nearly 250 ideas from over 175 New Yorkers, including small business owners, company CEOs, labor leaders, community advocates, non-profit practitioners, artists, college educators and former government officials.

"Faced with a long road to a full and equitable economic recovery, New York City needs bold and actionable ideas that can be implemented now and into 2022 to bring back nearly half a million jobs, strengthen small businesses, revitalized hard-hit corridors and communities, restore the city's vitality and magnetism, and reassert New York's cherished role as a beacon of economic opportunity to the world," according to the report.

The ideas have been organized into the following 10 core principles.

Click each principle to view all ideas submitted in that category.

1. Spark NYC's Economic Comeback

2. Strengthen NYC's Small Businesses

3. Help New Yorkers of Color Boost Incomes and Build Wealth

4. Embrace Public Health to Make New Yorkers Healthier and Grow the Economy

5. Make Skills Building the Centerpiece of an Equitable Recovery

6. Reimagine Streets and Public Spaces and Re-Invest in Vital Urban Infrastructure

7. Boost the Hard-Hit Arts Sector to Bring Back the City's Magnetism and Vitality

8. Build a Stronger and More Inclusive Economy for the Long Run

9. Prioritize Hard-Hit Workers and Communities

10. Shore Up the Building Blocks of NYC's Economic Success

"The nearly 250 ideas contained in this report provide an ambitious yet achievable blueprint for cultivating a robust and inclusive economic recovery," according to the report.

(c)2021 Staten Island Advance, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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