2001-01-13 / Front Page

Chamber Receives $200,000 Grant

Chamber Receives $200,000 Grant

Waterfront Park For Beach 116 Street

By John C. McLoughlin

As part of the effort to revitalize the Beach 116 street commercial strip, a waterfront park off of Beach Channel drive is in the design stage.

Rockaway’s Chamber of Commerce, through its 501c3 corporation, The Rockaway Partnership, recently received a $200,000 New York Strategic Investment Program (SIP) grant. Facilitated by Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and State Senator Serf Maltese, guidelines for SIP grants include uses for economic development, arts and culture, and various environmental or parkland uses.

During Labor Day Weekend of 2000, the Chamber of Commerce hosted the "Viking Day" celebration on property abutting Jamaica Bay adjacent to Beach Channel drive at Beach 116 street. It was then that the Chamber’s leadership took notice of this bayfront property and its potential to the community. Assemblywoman Pheffer was particularly eager to help the Chamber develop this area into a waterfront park for the residents of the community.

"Development of this waterfront park coincides perfectly with the ‘Beach to Bay’ improvements scheduled for Beach 116 street," Pheffer said. "I am thrilled to provide funding to enhance the experience our residents and visitors will have while utilizing our commercial district."

The Rockaway Chamber will be working with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to determine the final design of the project and bids will be solicited from Rockaway-based contractors and companies in an effort to keep the funds here on the Peninsula. This process is expected to begin in February of 2001.

Included in the project plans is the refurbishment of a trolley owned by the Rockaway Chamber to operate along the commercial areas bringing people to and from the park free of charge.

Completion of this project will bring forth critical and much-needed waterfront recreational development on Jamaica Bay. The plans for the park area include railings, benches, telescope, lighting, appropriate landscaping and an environmental learning center. The ultimate goal is to provide a safe and scenic venue for relaxation, arts and cultural events, and environmental education opportunities while enhancing the beauty of the waterfront area.

"We are very excited about this project and invite comments and suggestions from the community," says Chamber President Liz Sulik. "The development of this park area will be a true collaborative effort between local, city, state and federal agencies and the community working together toward a common goal – the beautification of the Beach 116 street commercial strip and the reestablishment of the Rockaway peninsula as a beachfront destination."

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