1999-08-07 / Editorial/Opinion

What's Gateway's Future?

Kevin Buckley is now the former superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area. He steered Gateway through tough economic conditions---when the Feds were particularly stingy with money for parks. We wish him well in his new post as General Manager of the Breezy Point Co-op.

As for the future of Gateway, it is vital that someone step into the position with vision and vitality.

Faced with continual budget cutbacks and strangling in red tape both in Washington and right in the park, Gateway is just a step ahead of becoming a moribund failure. Congressman Anthony Weiner has said that he wants to make Gateway far more "user-friendly." Well, he better watch who the Park Service installs into the superintendent post because without a strong leader the park could become another Arverne Renewal Area.

While the bird sanctuary has certainly grown in stature the rest of the park struggles. The bike path needs to be completed; the bathhouse at Riis park needs to be completed; the Ryan Center needs to be completed; the fields at Fort Tilden need new dirt, new grass, and sprinklers. And what about the hangars on Flatbush avenue? Are they going to be torn down, renovated, or transformed into something attractive?

Right now it takes forever to get an answer from the park. Groups and individuals are always telling us stories about not getting answers to requests. We’ve had numerous park employees tell us---off the record---that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Buckley leaves on the heels of another supervisor leaving Fort Wadsworth; the Superintendent at Sandy Hook is reportedly leaving soon, too. The whole park is in flux. Sadly, if things weren’t getting done before---it looks like things will get worse before they get better.

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