By Nathaly Pesantez
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Daniel Dromm, joined by city officials and local community groups, broke ground on the $4.5 million expansion and upgrade to Diversity Plaza today.
The project will bring new trees, planters and a performance space to the two block plaza on 37th Road between 74th Street and Broadway, as well as bike racks, moveable furniture and signage.
The mayor, during the groundbreaking ceremony, spoke to the plaza’s character as a gathering space for the immigrant community of Jackson Heights.
“Queens is the most diverse borough in the city, one of the most diverse places on earth, and Jackson Heights is the center,” Mayor de Blasio said. “Diversity Plaza is an epicenter of culture, community and vibrancy within New York City.”
Nearby streets will also be resurfaced, with infrastructure upgrades including new water mains, curbs, street lighting, and traffic signals.
Councilmember Daniel Dromm, who allocated $500,000 of city funds toward the plaza, read an excerpt from a 2016 issue of Time Magazine, where Diversity Plaza was chosen as one of “240 Reasons to Celebrate America.”
The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is overseeing the plaza’s upgrade, with work expected to be completed in the summer of 2018, the Jackson Heights Post reported.
The two block stretch on 37th Road between 74th Street and Broadway was turned into a pedestrian space in 2012. It is managed by Social Uplift Knowledge and Hopes Initiatives and the Department of Transportation.