2004-05-07 / Community

Blum: Arverne Needs Entertainment Complex

Blum: Arverne Needs Entertainment Complex

Bernie Blum, the President of the Friends of Rockaway, a long-time environmental group, does not believe that demapping streets in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area and putting a park in the eastern end of the site is the best solution local residents.

"The attempt to demap the street that is dedicated to the father of American surfing, Duke Kahanamoku, by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) for its real estate residential development proposal is the latest indication of how Rockaway waterfront revitalization has been manipulated away from recreational economic development for the NYC tourist economy," claims environmentalist-activist Blum.

"If it’s done," he says, "it only proves that the NYC waterfront revitalization program (a local one in the New York State program) should never have obtained an initial five and one half million dollar share of ten and one half million dollars the NYS program obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1978-1982 when the City and the State programs were drafted and approved!"

Blum adds that since then, the State program (the City’s an insert) has been sent two and one half million dollars a year – over forty million dollars and guidelines for access and use of beaches and waterfronts in general are important in waterfront programs.

Blum asks how HPD, in partnership with Community Board 14, can come up with a residential oriented program and ignore the tourist economy and such potential for job creation? What is need is an entertainment complex request for interest proposal (RFIP) to tap into the tourist economy and integrated with a natural parkland beach to bay park (in addition to a limited HPD proposal central park).

Blum has asked the National and Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and locally the QBP to look into why there should be an actual RFIP (and not more residential development) to take advantage of Rockaway’s main asset – its waterfront. NOAA evaluates the functioning of waterfront revitalization programs the U.S. Department of Commerce funds. How functioning is it if the City insert has a major development on the waterfront and the HPD proposal does not even need a waterfront setting (indicated in appendix M of the impact statement)?

"Why the State program will not even agenda a discussion of how natural beauty and habitat, in the form of topsoil and living vegetation, is being stripmined by the Sanitation Department working for HPD-asserted land clearing for development – and it makes the HPD impact statement a fraud," Blum claims.

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