Contamination, economy on EDC’s agenda for Friday’s Council hearing

The city is readying its game plan as they prepare to face the City Council at a hearing later this week.

The Economic Development Corporation is expected to lean heavily on the need for a multi-million-dollar environmental cleanup at Willets Point when they pitch their plan to the legislative body this Friday, Oct. 17.

“This is a highly compromised area environmentally,” said EDC President Seth Pinsky. “It’s really an embarrassment to the city at this point.”

Top brass at the EDC said Friday that although they will push the environmental contamination at Willets Point as the reason the proposed redevelopment of Willets Point should be approved, they will not shy away from a major issue that could dog the project: the deepening economic crisis.

“We will address the economy — we can’t hide from it,” said EDC Vice President Asima Jansveld.

Jansveld said the EDC is still putting together its presentation for the Council’s Planning, Dispositions & Concessions subcommittee, which is scheduled to meet this Friday. She said the EDC knows, however, that they will have to address several of the major issues that have cast doubt on the project’s viability in legislators’ minds, such as slow negotiations with property owners, future City Council oversight of the project and the economic turmoil gripping the nation.

One thing newly crowned EDC Director of Public Affairs David Lombino said the city will not discuss is the status of continuing negotiations with business owners, which he said are kept confidential to protect the city’s interests.

“It’s made out as if we’re being secretive, but it’s not that it’s secretive,” Lombino said. “We’re negotiating with taxpayer money here.”

For more on this, check back tomorrow or read the full story on this Thursday.

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