The site, a former newspaper stand at the intersection of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue owned by the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), has been abandoned for at least a decade. A green space there would connect the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, an advocate for turning the blighted site around, announced the agreement.
She said the neglected site, at a busy Queens intersection, has attracted graffiti and vandalism over the years as community leaders have struggled to find a solution. Plans for greening the site extend back to 2003. This time, said Crowley, the work will get done.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues and community leaders to secure the necessary funding to take down the structure and transform the area into a green space,” said Crowley.
Helena Williams, the president of LIRR, said the project makes sense if funding can be secured to clean the site.
"This is an important community initiative,” Williams said in a statement confirming LIRR’s commitment to clean the site. “We are working with Council Member Crowley to help the community identify a source of funding” to turn the site around.
The site has been included in the MTA’s upcoming five-year Capital Program. An LIRR spokesperson said the money must be approved by the state before work can begin.
“For the benefit of the community,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo, “I am pleased to see that the MTA is willing to improve their property that has been a blight on the area for years.”