New York, NY —
For the past four years, Mayor Bloomberg has talked about transforming the Willets Point area of Queens. Today, the City Planning Commission is expected to start the seven-month clock that governs the land use review process. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman has more.
REPORTER: The 60-acre area just north of Shea Stadium has been a place for anything New Yorkers don't want in their backyards: an ash heap, the 1939 World's Fair, and most recently junk yards, auto repair shops, and trucking depots. So it's paradoxical that Mayor Bloomberg's plan is meeting such resistance. After all, what he wants to do is turn the area into a regular residential and commercial neighborhood - and finally install the sanitary sewers that businesses have been asking for for years.
The problem is, those businesses won't be around to use them. In order to make Bloomberg's plan come true, the city expects to displace 260 businesses and 1,700 workers. And they, supported by labor unions and affordable housing groups, are not going quietly. For WNYC, I'm Mathew Schuerman.