2002-06-08 / Editorial/Opinion

Museum Or Golf Course? The Answer Is Clear

Museum Or Golf Course?
The Answer Is Clear

While the western portion of the Arverne Urban Renewal Area is slated for 2,300 homes, the future of the eastern portion of the site, from Beach 35 Street to Beach 62 Street, is literally up in the air. There has been talk of a golf course, a park, and various other amenities. Those ideas sound interesting, but after a day trip to the new Cradle of Aviation Museum in Uniondale, we think that we have a better idea. The aviation museum is a perfect fit for that area because it is sited on the old Mitchell Field, an historic airfield that saw the beginning of the flight of Lucky Lindbergh. Think about that for a moment. What would be a perfect fit for Rockaway? You've got it! The perfect fit for Rockaway and for the Arverne Urban Renewal Area would be a maritime museum and educational center. Think about all of the pluses such a facility would bring. First of all, it would bring people with cash to spend to Rockaway. We visited the museum on a Saturday and it was mobbed with families, camp groups, elderly men who wanted to relive their pasts, foreigners who were drawn to the new facility. Secondly, it would provide plenty of jobs. The Nassau County facility includes a gift shop, a snack bar and lots of guides. I spoke with some of the people who work there and they are all local people. We need jobs for Rockaway people and a museum would provide more jobs than a golf course. Thirdly, think of the educational value of having a maritime museum and educational center here in Rockaway. It would be a boon for Rockaway schools and for education all over the city. Golf courses are fun in the summer, unusable in the winter. Two or three hundred people might use it over the course of a year. A museum goes all year-round. It would provide jobs and educate tens of thousands of people. To our mind, the answer is clear. Hopefully, some of our local politicians will agree. It will take a massive selling job to get a museum for Rockaway, but what rewards we will reap if we succeed.

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