2000-10-07 / Front Page

Pool Plan Takes The Plunge Feds Budget Mixed Bag For Peninsula

Pool Plan Takes The Plunge
Feds Budget Mixed Bag For Peninsula

Congressman Anthony Weiner announced this week that Washington budget negotiations had resulted in good news – and some not-so-good news – for Rockaway residents.

As budget bills were passed by the House of Representatives and headed to the Senate and to the President to soon become law, Congressman Weiner applauded additions that will benefit Rockawayites. Next year’s budget includes:

  • $1 million more for Rockaway beach replenishment.
  • More than $22 million for Gateway National Park for its annual operations.
  • A $25 million overall increase in funding for our nation’s national parks.
  • $8 million for the maintenance of a new northeast heating oil reserve. This will set aside two million barrels of heating oil to keep fuel prices down this winter.
  • $95 million for an Electric Power Plant Improvement Initiative, which will reduce pollution from power plants.

Funding for the proposed Riis Park pool, which was included in the President’s budget request and which Weiner and Senator Charles Schumer fought to include in the budget, was cut from the final version of the Interior Department’s spending bill.

Weiner has received assurance from Congressman Norman Dicks, ranking Democrat on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, that the pool funding has a good chance of being included in the fiscal year 2002 budget.

The Riis Park pool was first proposed by Senator Schumer when he represented the Rockaways in Congress. What originally began as an ambitious $25 million project was reduced to $5 million in previous budgets.

Both Weiner and Dicks have pointed a finger at the Republican leaders in Congress for refusing to allocate funds to this project.

"Rockaway fared very well in this year’s budget, and there’s more to come," Weiner said. "But to have to wait another year for our pool is a disappointment. Funding the Riis Park natatorium has been my number one appropriations project. Unfortunately, partisan politics will hold up the pool until our next bite at the apple in 2001."

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