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Mayor Eric Adams announces a new plan for Kimlau Square in Chinatown  

Dimitri Robert | Flickr

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the launch of “Chinatown Connections,” an initiative formed between the city and state to revitalize Park Row and Chatham/Kimlau Square in the Manhattan Chinatown area.

The infrastructure project will cost a total of $56 million with $44.3 million coming from city capital funding and $11.5 million from New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 

Construction is set to begin in 2027 and conclude in 2029.

In addition to Chatham/Kimlau Square receiving a makeover, the project will add a Chinatown welcome gateway to the neighborhood. This addition to the “Chinatown Connections” project will comprise community input as well as private fundraising efforts.

The welcome gateway will cost $2.5 million of the $11.5 million from the New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

At the announcement, Adams spoke on issues pedestrians and drivers alike have faced in the Chinatown area. 

“For far too long, Chinatown residents, neighbors and tourists alike had to deal with confined public spaces and dangerous intersections at Chatham/Kimlau Square, but those days are coming to a close. Our $56 million joint investment with the state in ‘Chinatown Connections’ will allow us to reimagine the square with shortened street crossings, more public space, simpler intersections and direct cyclist connections making our streets even safer for all New Yorkers to share,” said Adams. 

During the press conference, Adams claimed that this new city and state partnership would allow them “to really reclaim the narrative of what we always focused on: public space, public safety and making this city livable for everyone.”

While Adams touted the safety benefits of  “Chinatown Connections,” the mayor’s past efforts on such projects have been brought to light. 

During his tenure as Brooklyn Borough President, Adams pushed for a similar archway in the Sunset Park, Brooklyn neighborhood. However, that project has still not progressed since its initial announcement over a decade ago. 

Similar to its Manhattan counterpart, funding for the Brooklyn project would have relied on private donations from groups including Sino America New York Brooklyn Archway Association, a non-profit launched in 2012. 

Jennifer Sun, Vice President of Planning with the city’s Economic Development Corporation, stood with Adams during the press conference where she later spoke on the difference between the Chinatown gateway and past archways being the origin of the project’s efforts, as well as who is involved in the three-year construction project. Manhattan’s soon-to-be Chinatown arch comes from a state-led process, the EDC will work with the Chinatown Business Improvement District in an effort to reassure donors where their money is going. 

“We are putting systems and protections in place to make sure that when individuals or organizations are donating to the gateway, they understand what they are donating for — for the design, construction and maintenance of the gateway — and that they understand that when they are making that donation, it is for that use only,” Sun said.

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Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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