Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island), who served in the state assembly for 20 years, scored one more significant victory for the people of Mid-Island.
Cusick and the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on Friday a $2.4 million sidewalk project along Forest Hill Road in Willowbrook, a cause for which the assemblyman and neighborhood members have long lobbied.
“This has been a longstanding issue that I worked tirelessly on since before the pandemic. It’s a project of necessity for a community that has had to navigate a narrow, busy thoroughfare for many years,” Cusick said.
The project would build a roughly one-mile-long sidewalk along Forest Hill Road from Willowbrook Road to D Street, making the area safer for pedestrians. It is anticipated to be finished in the spring of 2023.
Many parts of the project area do not yet have sidewalks, forcing people to cross the street or walk perilously close to moving traffic.
The hundreds of people who walk along Forest Hill Road every day on their way to Young Israel of Staten Island, which is across the street, the College of Staten Island, or the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, which is down the street, should be protected by the new sidewalk.
“There are certain points along Forest Hill Road that have been downright dangerous, and I’m very happy that I’m able to finish my time in the State Assembly by ensuring that all members of the neighborhood can walk safely, including students at CSI, staff at the Institute of Basic Research, and families in the neighborhood,” Cusick added.
Cusick played a crucial role in bringing together both levels of government to fund and authorize the project, which is the product of a collaborative effort between the city and state.
Of the $2.4 million project, the DOT is contributing around $1.9 million, and Cusick’s office is providing state monies to cover the remaining $500,000.
The state’s Dormitory Authority (DASNY), which obtained the building contract, and the state’s Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), which had to accept the use of its land for the project, are other interested organizations.
Borough President Vito Fossella praised Cusick for securing the new walkway before leaving office and mentioned that these are the most initiatives that borough people value.
“He [Cusick] could have easily just rested on his laurels, but he wanted to make sure that this final project got done,” Fossella said.
“These are the quality of life issues that are essential and important to Staten Island’s people and the city. This is what people want everybody to do; work together,” Fossella added.