2013-12-04 / Features

Corona Plaza Receives $800K Leadership Gift


Talking Heads musician David Byrne (l.), a big supporter of public space initiatives, attended the press conference in Corona Plaza. He stood with (l. to r.); Edgar Gutierrez, manager of the nearby Walgreens and recipient of Global Chase Philanthropy’s “Daily Point of Light Award”, Neighborhood Plaza Partnership Director Laura Hansen, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, The Hort Executive Director Sara Hobel, Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) Executive Director Seth Bornstein and QEDC Director of Neighborhood Services Ricardi Calixte. Talking Heads musician David Byrne (l.), a big supporter of public space initiatives, attended the press conference in Corona Plaza. He stood with (l. to r.); Edgar Gutierrez, manager of the nearby Walgreens and recipient of Global Chase Philanthropy’s “Daily Point of Light Award”, Neighborhood Plaza Partnership Director Laura Hansen, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, The Hort Executive Director Sara Hobel, Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) Executive Director Seth Bornstein and QEDC Director of Neighborhood Services Ricardi Calixte. The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), city Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and executives from Chase Bank announced an $800,000 leadership gift to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership (NPP) in Corona Plaza on November 26.

This donation ensures that DOT’s community partners have financial support to maintain clean, green and vibrant public plazas, such as Corona Plaza, which is also known as “La Placita”. NPP provides partners with affordable, high-quality maintenance and horticulture care via the workforce development programs of The Horticultural Society and The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless.

“New York has always been a city of neighborhoods, and while we’ve provided 26 acres of community plazas citywide, too many places still lack the kind of open spaces that can serve as the hearts of our communities,” said Sadik-Khan. “Thanks to this innovative partnership, we’re building a better city not only with concrete, but through new jobs, new local partners and new opportunities in every borough.”

“Because our community deserves the same kind of public amenity as any other, we have rallied around the Plaza Program and this site for more than five years,” stated Ferreras. “QEDC has forged a wonderful partnership with the Queens Museum to provide countless free programs and events year-round to hundreds of local residents. Their donated time and energy has truly made Corona Plaza one of the best public spaces anywhere in New York City. We are delighted that, thanks to Chase, the excellent service NPP provides here will expand to our sister plazas in other parts of Queens and across the city.”

“We are very grateful for the support we have received from NPP and The Horticultural Society,” said QEDC Director of Neighborhood Services Ricardi Calixte. “Corona Plaza is a major economic catalyst in the area, and it’s an honor to be part of this success.”

“We know that capital turns around communities. An investment like the one we are making today spurs development in and around neighborhoods, strengthens the economy and improves the lives of the people who frequent these plazas day to day,” said Vincent La Padula, managing director, J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

“With Chase as our partner, we can significantly expand a unique model of combining workforce development with organizational capacity building on behalf of public space,” said NPP Director Laura Hansen. “It’s a triple bottom line: clean, colorful plazas improve neighborhoods; local nonprofits gain technical assistance and capacity; and hard-to-employ New Yorkers in the rehabilitative programs at ACE NY and The Hort have more and better transitional work experience. Chase is committed to improving workforce development and neighborhoods, and we are honored to help them carry out that mission.”

Located in the vicinity of 103rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Corona Plaza is maintained by QEDC in partnership with the Queens Museum. QEDC’s maintenance is supported by the Flushing-Willets Point- Corona LDC with funding from New York Community Bank, New York Community Bank Foundation and Richmond County Savings Foundation.

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