2003-04-26 / Editorial/Opinion

A Waterfront Community Needs A Boat Ramp

A Waterfront Community Needs A Boat Ramp

We have traveled throughout the nation, from Maine to Florida, to places where water-related activity is a main attraction. Wherever we went, wherever there is a lake or a river, a bay or an ocean, there was a place for residents to launch their boats. That is, except for Rockaway. The School Construction Agency (SCA) closed the one public boat ramp in Rockaway last September. At the time, The Wave was told by the SCA, "The parking lot and the ramp itself are caving in and are in deplorable condition." Subsequent to that, we were told by a number of residents who regularly used the facility that it was not all that bad. Rumors spread that the ramp was closed because the school did not want the public to use it, because Gateway wanted it closed so that personal watercraft, which had been banned in most of the bay, could not be launched, because the school’s principal did not like seeing all those outsiders on school property. City Councilman Joe Addabbo said at the time that closing the ramp was prudent, but that he was hopeful "that the School Construction Agency will quickly determine the cost of the renovation and the work will begin soon thereafter to do the necessary repairs." Nothing was ever done, and another boating season is upon us. We realize that the budget crisis can easily keep the ramp from being repaired. A city who can find money to fund people to check if others are smoking should be able, however, to find the wherewithal to keep at least one boat ramp open in a water-related community such as Rockaway. Any talk of basic city services should include this one.

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