2004-07-23 / Columnists

Chamber Chat

By Joanie Omeste, Executive Director, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce


JOANIE OMESTE Joanie Omeste, the new Executive Director for the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways, will write a monthly column for The Wave dealing with her organization’s activities and with Rockaway issues.

Welcome to my monthly column about what the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways is doing for the Rockaways. Of course, I have to start with Tribute Park. As you may already know, the Chamber has had to overcome many hurdles (and probably will continue to) in order to see this park to fruition. The good news is that things are progressing. The Arts Commission suggested changes to the layout of the park and the Chamber worked hard to be in compliance with the changes. The contractors and subcontractors have been approached and are ready to move ahead. Recently, there was a slight snag concerning beach erosion, and thanks to the wonderful Dan Mundy, that’s been straightened out with the Department of Environmental Conservation. Although permits need to be reissued, we hope to get that expedited and can continue with the heavy work within the next few weeks. The new opening date is scheduled for... ha! you didn’t really think after everything we’ve gone through, I was going to commit to an opening date?!?!

The Chamber would like to inform you of the existence of its Awning Program. Secured through a state grant, the Chamber will pay for half the cost of fabric for a new awning for your business. Initially only offered to Chamber members, beginning August 1st the program will be open to all businesses on the Rockaway Peninsula. The Chamber is working with National Awning, who will pay you a site visit, show samples, estimate a price and when agreed upon, facilitate the work. If you do not currently have the structure needed to support an awning, they will give you the best deal possible for the structure. We urge to you take advantage of this cost saving program. For more information please call the Chamber office (718) 634-1300 or call National Awning at (800) 560-2717.

You may have heard that the Chamber of Commerce is endeavoring to start a business improvement district for the area. The BID’s proposed boundaries currently are Beach 108th Street to Beach 116th Street; Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach Channel Drive. A BID is a public/private partnership in which property and business owners elect to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial district. Several advantages of having a business improvement district are: a cleaner, safer and more attractive business district; a steady and reliable funding source for supplemental services and programs; the potential to increase property values, improve sales and decrease commercial vacancy rates; a district that is better able to compete with nearby retail and business centers. A BID provides for maintenance, public safety, hospitality, business development, marketing, capital improvements, and community service. Business Improvement Districts have been important partners in the economic development of New York City for more than 20 years and the Chamber believes a BID will greatly improve the Beach 116 Street business area. July 15 was the Chamber’s 7th Annual Golf Outing. It was an absolutely beautiful day (the first one after a few of days of continuous rain), so everyone was happy to be outside and having fun. The luncheon was held directly after golf at The Beach Club, with many thanks going to Steve Good the Great for all his help. Also, many thanks to Barbara Morris of West End Realty for the huge amount of work and enthusiasm she contributed on behalf of the Chamber.

We’d also like to acknowledge the lovely ladies of Brown’s Hardware, they’ve done a fantastic job of beautifying 116th Street by planting and caring for flowers around the trees on the parking meridian and also at the MTA station. The Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner Dance will take place on November 17 at Russo’s on the Bay. Please save the date! One of the honorees this year is Dr. Geraldine Chapey... and for the people who don’t already know and love Dr. Chapey, she is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Trinity Services Inc. which provides educational, recreational and cultural programs for over 1,800 seniors. This includes intergenerational after-school programs, homework assistance and computer instruction; a senior van transportation program and an educational and recreational senior program. Dr. Chapey is also a published columnist in several community newspapers. And... she is one of the loveliest people you’ll ever get to know. If you would like become a member of CCR (no I don’t mean Creedence Clearwater Revival, although that would be fun, too) please call the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways office at (718) 634-1300.

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