Jewel Streets neighborhood plan to upgrade infrastructure, build affordable housing

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New York City Department of Environmental Protection workers constructing drainage upgrades in the Jewel Streets neighborhood in October 2022. Credit: New York City Department of Environmental Protection

New York Construction Report staff writer

The Jewel Streets neighborhood, known as “The Hole,” in Queens and Brooklyn is set to undergo major changes to enhance infrastructure and develop affordable housing. New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently visited the area to assess flooding impacts and resiliency infrastructure in the wake of a recent severe rainfall.

“For decades, the Jewel Streets neighborhood has been abandoned, left to suffer chronic flooding, even on sunny days. We have been clear that that is no longer the case in this administration,” Adams said. “Our administration was ahead of last week’s flooding with critical, initial investments to improve infrastructure and clear the streets as much as 10 times more quickly than after Hurricane Ida.

“But this is just the beginning: We’re investing $75 million in a comprehensive plan to improve quality of life for residents of the Jewel Streets with resilient infrastructure, affordable housing, and new economic opportunities.”

Mayor Eric Adams (center), HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. (right), DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala (left), and MOCEJ Executive Director Elijah Hutchinson (far left) discuss street flooding alleviation in the Jewel Streets neighborhood in Brooklyn and Queens. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

The DEP had installed new sewer infrastructure between September 2022 and March 2023, successfully mitigating street flooding from the recent storm within hours, a significant improvement compared to the prolonged flooding experienced during Hurricane Ida in 2021.

Following the mayor’s visit, HPD and DEP are organizing a community workshop to discuss climate risks including flooding, and the potential transformation of a vacant city-owned site on Stanley Avenue into affordable housing, community amenities, and open space. The Jewel Streets, a 12-block area spanning East New York in Brooklyn and Lindenwood in Queens, has long struggled with flooding due to a lack of comprehensive stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure.

The city has announced $75 million in resilient infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic opportunities. This plan is aimed at addressing the persistent flooding issues that have plagued the community.

DEP’s recent infrastructure upgrades have significantly alleviated chronic flooding by enhancing the area’s drainage network. This has allowed for a more efficient management of stormwater and a quicker recovery from severe rain events, as seen in the recent storm compared to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

The Jewel Streets Neighborhood Plan aims to transform the area, enhancing infrastructure, safety, and economic prospects while providing relief from persistent flooding issues. Community involvement will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the Jewel Streets neighborhood.

“The harsh impacts of flooding were especially acute here, but sadly and more importantly, flooding in general is part of residents’ daily experience. That is unacceptable,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “While DEP’s installation of a sewer line last year did help minimize the recovery time, it’s clearer than ever that we need a robust and resilient design done in a timely manner for this community.

“Continuing with tonight’s community meeting, we are advancing the Jewel Streets Neighborhood Plan process and improving quality of life for the members of this community.”

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