1999-10-16 / Letters

Rockaway’s Future?

Dear Editor;

Quite a while now since we heard any mention of this Technodome project, or anything of the like. Can't help but wonder, is the project dead? Hopefully I speak for all when I say good riddance to such a plan. When will some of the people in this town realize that the Rockaway Playland that they knew and loved is gone forever and that nothing resembling
Playland will bring this town back to what it was in it's heyday?

Let's say so long for good to any plans that bring hordes of people down to Rockaway, degrading the locals’ quality of life. I'm all for people coming to enjoy the beaches, but these large scale plans to make Rockaway into a 'resort-entertainment' complex for all of New York City do absolutely nothing for the people who already live here.

Economically, these types of plans offer little benefit to their surrounding communities. The jobs they bring barely suit high school kids; they do not offer any real income producing benefits to the people that work there. The incremental revenue that other businesses enjoy when people come to visit such a place is negligible. People come to a Playland-like venue to spend their money at the park itself and perhaps a little bit at some of the local eateries and bars. Rockaway doesn't need these kind of crowds anymore. We've done our share in the past. You want to whoop it up? Gamble? Drink? Go on a few amusement rides? There are plenty of places in New Jersey offering this type of thing already.

We do need a large influx of capital here in Rockaway, that's the truth. If the capital comes, so does the influence to build more of the infrastructure that this peninsula so desperately needs. A suggestion to our local community leaders: How about luring some of the rapidly emerging technical industry right here to Rockaway? Stop snickering...that's right, Rockaway.

Office space in Manhattan continues to be leased at a huge premium. If we offered some of these start ups space to operate, it could be feasible that they would consider operating right here in Rockaway. Many of these firms operate and communicate remotely. They don't necessarily need to be located along side each other in Manhattan. All we would have to do is advertise in the right locations and of course, have some space slated for availability. In addition, if we put the word out to companies that already exist in North America that are looking to break into the New York market, perhaps we could bring a few here to start their New York offices...or their northeastern operations.

For the time being, they would have to bring some of their own talent with them. That would be their biggest challenge. An honest projection could put the local people into 25-50 percent of these jobs within a few years. Think about it, our own people here in Rockaway, given the ability to earn and spend their own income here on the peninsula.

Just a thought... but why not start to provide opportunities, real opportunities, locally? All we hear lately are cries for education reform. Yes we need that too, but all I see of late from our educated people are their own relocation plans, away from Rockaway. Our local leaders have good intentions but have served in the public sector for much of their careers. Perhaps they need to consult with business and civic leaders from successful areas or from communities that have turned things around. If we can't do this during one of the most prosperous times in any nation in the history of modern man, it could very well be that this will never get done.

At the very least, let's not get started down the wrong track. As the last visitor heads out of Rockaway on a Sunday night, a crumpled fast food wrapper from the car's rear window is all I visualize for us from a plan like the Technodome.

J. FRANCIS

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