Local Assets, Local Jobs: Quinn's Jobs Plans for the Five Boroughs
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn showcased her strategy for job creation today as part of an expansive jobs tour around each of the five boroughs. Her plan makes the case that to get New Yorkers back to work the City needs to tap into existing assets and focus on the unique strengths of individual neighborhoods.
Quinn visited businesses in each of the five boroughs and highlighted the specific opportunities each brings to the neighborhoods they are based in. She showcased businesses and business clusters in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island as examples of potential drivers for additional jobs growth in related industries. The goal of Speaker Quinn’s approach is to create jobs in industries identified as having growth potential, based on the competitive advantages of each neighborhood.
“Every one of our communities is uniquely positioned to seize new opportunities for economic growth,” Speaker Quinn said. “It's the people of our great city who represent the key ingredient in each of the communities I am visiting. By offering tools and support for businesses and developing new skills for our workers, we can strengthen our local economies and truly support our middle class. I have the plan to make this vision become a reality.”
The day highlighted several proposals for business and job development in local neighborhoods. Specifically, the proposals included:
Transforming the South Bronx into a Modern Hub for Clean-Tech Jobs
The South Bronx is a center for more than 1,600 transportation companies – warehousing, distribution, buses and trucking. By 2018 those vehicles will need to be replaced or retrofitted with new clean-tech technologies to meet new federal efficiency standards. Speaker Quinn pointed to a need to leverage this moment in time to bring clean tech jobs to the South Bronx that will help transition truck fleets to cleaner fuels and reduce emissions and asthma rates. Speaker Quinn proposed:
- Creating matching grants for Bronx clean tech firms;
- Establishing a $1 million loan guarantee FOR small businesses that transition from diesel fuel to lower emissions technologies, allowing them to retrofit trucks relying on diesel; and
- Working with Hostos and Bronx Community College to develop programs for community members to acquire new clean-tech skills.
Using a Cultural Hotbed to Grow Jobs in East Harlem
As one of the city’s historic public markets, La Marqueta has made great strides in the last few years to turn itself back into the neighborhood market it once was. Even so, Speaker Quinn pointed to the opportunity to take La Marqueta even further and turn it into the anchor business for the La Marqueta Mile, an open-air market extending north on Park Avenue beneath the elevated MetroNorth overpass. Recognizing the potential for markets to transform communities, Speaker Quinn’s vision includes:
- Revamping the leasing structure to provide vendors with greater stability and providing rent grants to new entrepreneurs who make commitments to La Marqueta;
- Making La Marqueta more business friendly by expanding hours and increasing joint marketing efforts with NYC & Company and local cultural institutions to attract local and foreign visitors; and
- Providing capital to launch the first phase of construction for the multi0vendor La Marqueta Mile outdoor market.
Making Long Island City a Tech Powerhouse
With its close proximity to three prominent colleges, Silicon Alley and Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle, Long Island City is well situated to take advantage of growth in the tech sector. And with some strategic investments, Long Island City could serve as the next Silicon Alley or DUMBO and keep New York City on track to being the tech capital of the world. To achieve this, Speaker Quinn proposed:
- Offering low-cost, flexible office space for homegrown tech companies;
- Increasing bus, subway and ferry service to Long Island City to make it more desirable and accessible for growing businesses;
- Helping New Yorkers get tech jobs by expanding successful workforce development programs in collaboration with CUNY and the Coalition for Queens; and
- Deploying the fastest available Internet technologies to residents and businesses in Long Island City.
Helping Immigrant Entrepreneurs in East Elmhurst
According to a recent Center for an Urban Future report, 49 percent of the self-employed in New York City are immigrants; in Queens immigrant New Yorkers are nearly twice as likely to be self-employed. Speaker Quinn proposed ways of building on the strengths of this immigrant-rich community and using it to grow the local economy and build good, middle-class jobs, including:
- Creating an immigrant business incubator, providing aspiring entrepreneurs with culturally competent services in multiple languages including help securing capital, creating a business plan or developing an export strategy;
- Improving retail corridor infrastructure through the creation of the Jackson Heights – Corona BID; and
- Establishing the NYC Worker Cooperative Center, a one-stop shop for training and technical assistance for worker cooperatives.
Creating 2,000 Industrial Jobs in Sunset Park
The Brooklyn Navy Yard successfully generates $2 billion in economic activity for the city and provides jobs for more than 6,000 New Yorkers. Noting that between the Brooklyn Army, Bush and South Brooklyn Marine Terminals, the City controls 8.8 million square feet of industrial space, Speaker Quinn described her plan for replicating the success of the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Sunset Park:
- Creating an independent development organization to use 9 million square feet of city-owned property to grow manufacturing and other industrial jobs;
- Upgrading 500 thousand square feet of vacant space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal to grow smaller, modern manufacturing companies; and
- Eliminating sales taxes for smaller manufacturing companies when they purchase equipment or make infrastructure investments, to help them grow good jobs and hire middle class workers.
Building a Thriving Business Community in Stapleton
1.5 million visitors take the ferry to Staten Island every year, and the construction of the new Wheel and outlet mall in St. George will attract millions more. Downtown Stapleton is located a mile and a half from these new developments and presents an immense opportunity for economic growth. Speaker Quinn noted that with a few targeted economic development strategies, the City can make sure that Stapleton lives up to its potential by:
- Making targeted infrastructure investments, including renovating and revitalizing Tappen Park, building pedestrian and bike paths to allow better access from the ferry;
- Creating a new business acceleration team to target neighborhoods experiencing rapid residential and other development; and
- Working with landlords to reactivate vacant storefronts with temporary creative and community uses.
Over the course of the day, Speaker Quinn made six stops in each of the five boroughs, each time noting her plan for utilizing unique, specific community advantages. The ‘Local Assets, Local Jobs’ plan zeroes in on the unique characteristics of existing neighborhoods throughout New York and seeks to leverage them to satisfy existing or emerging needs.