The City of New York has started several projects on Staten Island in the past few years, with even more ambitious plans just getting underway. The North Shore 2030 plan starts with transportation improvements and also includes upgrades for St. George and other North Shore areas. Projects are also in place to improve other neighborhoods, create parks and make it easier to get around. All these proposed projects will bring jobs and commerce to Staten Island, and make it a popular tourist destination as well.
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Traveling between Manhattan and Staten Island will be easier with many of the improvements planned for 2013 and beyond. The express bus service to Manhattan is expanding its hours of operation to include late nights and weekends. For commuters who use the St. George Ferry, the ramps and ferry access points are undergoing renovation. Eight ramps will be rehabilitated, while the North Ramp, which provides access to parking lots, will be demolished and reconstructed. Improvements will also be made to bus gates, pedestrian and bicycle access, and parking lots.
The Staten Island Ferry is a favorite of both commuters and around two million tourists each year, but most of those tourists never leave the ferry terminal on the Staten Island side. In an attempt to change that, the NYEDC (New York Economic Development Corporation) has put in place a plan to build the world’s largest Ferris wheel near the St. George Ferry Terminal. The plans for St. George also include a large outlet mall called Harbor Commons, which will also feature a hotel and gourmet restaurants.
To stimulate the economy and provide space for start-up businesses, the city is building a business incubator near the St. George Ferry Terminal. This incubator will give a fledgling business venture a space to collaborate and innovate. Successful new businesses will have a positive economic impact on the surrounding areas.
New Stapleton Waterfront
Homeport is a decommissioned Naval Base covering 35 acres near the Stapleton neighborhood. The city is working to develop it into a mixed-use residential community that will bring commerce and residents to Stapleton. The plans for the area include hundreds of rental units, retail space, parking, improvements to the roadways, and a park along the waterfront.
At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park was once the world’s largest landfill, but state of the art ecological restoration techniques are transforming the area into a natural park. The first sections of the park started to open in 2011, but the restoration is an ongoing process, although a major portion of the work will be completed by 2016. Once it’s finished, this park will be a place for recreation and public art covering an expanse three times larger than Central Park.
Charleston Municipal Site
Using money from the sale of a nearby site to a developer, the city of New York has begun to develop 58 acres of empty land that is now called the Charleston Municipal Site. This site will be an asset to the community, as the plans for the space include a 22 acre park, a branch of the New York Public Library, senior housing, and a public school. There will also be room for retail stores in the site.
Each of these projects will benefit the Staten Island economy by bringing tourism, growing businesses, creating space for retail stores and improving transportation. Many Staten Island neighborhoods will also be improved by access to parks, the New York Public Library and increased housing options.