The Trust for Public Land and the Friends of the QueensWay announced Tuesday two New York firms have been chosen to create a design and feasibility plan that will transform 3.5 miles of the old Rockaway Beach Rail Line into an elevated park.
The firms Adam Lubinsky of WXY Architecture + Urban Design and dlandstudio will conduct a 10-month study to see if they can create a park that will connect multiple communities in central and southern Queens.
"It allows people to go north to south in Queens. It allows people to celebrate the rich cultural diversity. That takes abandoned property and converts it into something useful and that's exciting for a huge number of people," said Travis Terry of Friends of the QueensWay.
"It'll provide not only recreation potential for biking, walking, dog walking, but it'll also...is a remarkable opportunity to help catalyze economic activities in the neighborhoods," said Marc Matsil of the Trust for Public Land.
The state is funding the project to the tune of $400,000.
The old Long Island Railroad line was abandoned in 1962. Since then, it has become an overgrown swath of disjointed tracks stretching from Rego Park to Ozone Park.
Since the tracks lie on city-owned land, any proposed development would require layers of government approval. Still, representatives from the two firms chosen Tuesday say the project has great potential.
"It's gonna have many components to it. There's going to be a component that looks at how you make links to the Queensway, what are the potential access points, we need to look at the landscaping elements as well," said Adam Lubinsky of WXY Architecture + Urban Design.
"We're bringing together a lot of experts to explore how we might actually make this park a reality," said Susannah Drake of dlandstudio.
However, some Queens politicians say local residents would rather have the old rail line back to make travel in the borough easier.
In a statement, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder said, "The current lack of public transit options in Queens is strangling our businesses and hurting our families. And I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Governor to completely restore the abandoned rail line."