Chamber Responds To Baxter
(This letter is in response to John Baxter’s letter in The Wave, March 17, 2001, "Build Pier First.")
Thank you for your letters of concern in regards to the proposed community park at B. 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive. For the purposes of clarification, let me repeat the specific requirements of the New York State grant for the project. These monies must be used to plan, execute and complete a project. Simply put, these grant monies cannot be used to begin a project with only the hope that additional funding will be granted to complete the project. The Rockaway Partnership (the 501c3 corporation of Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways) must and will comply with the grant requirements. The end result will be the construction of a beautiful useful park for the entire community to enjoy and which will greatly enhance the B. 116 Street business area.
While a municipal pier is very much needed in Rockaway, that project is a very long process and will cost millions of dollars. To the best of my knowledge, a site for such a pier has not been decided upon and although many may feel that B. 116 Street is the ideal location, there are many other factors to be considered. The maps showing old pilings under the water line off B. 116 Street are being explored and will be very useful in the future, but certainly should not displace plans to enhance an area along Jamaica Bay badly in need of beautification now. There are no reasons why the proposed park should interfere in any way with the site being considered for a pier in the future.
The Chamber of Commerce has made it very well known that the concept for the park was your wonderful idea – one that both Assemblywoman Pheffer and the Chamber of Commerce eagerly sought to pursue so that the concept could become a reality. Our efforts thus far have been directed towards obtaining the final approval for the grant from the NYS Senate. As soon as we receive the final "go ahead" from the appropriate agency, meetings (open to the public) will begin and requests for bids will be published in the local paper. We will most definitely welcome, and will need, community volunteers. The park is a collaborative, community venture and no one is being excluded. This is a rare and wonderful opportunity to put $200,000 back into our community by hiring local contractors and companies to do the work in the proposed park – an opportunity we should not pass up.
We look forward to collaborating with you, the community and the many volunteers you have lined up to assist in the park’s development, design and construction.
LIZ SULIK, PRESIDENT
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
OF THE ROCKAWAYS, INC.