2004-10-08 / Community

Courthouse Plan Gets $3 Million From BP

By Brian Magoolaghan

The Rockaway Courthouse, seen here, has been vacant for more than 40 years.
The Rockaway Courthouse, seen here, has been vacant for more than 40 years.

The plan to convert the Rockaway Courthouse to a CUNY annex got a $3 million boost from Queens Borough President Helen Marshall last month – prompting her office to declare ‘we’re halfway there!’

Talks of bringing CUNY, the City University of New York, to the long-vacant courthouse at 90-01 Beach Channel Drive surfaced last spring, but Marshall’s $3 million allocation of discretionary funds is the most significant step taken in the courthouse’s name in decades.

Dan Andrews, Marshall’s spokesperson, said his boss toured the “distinctive” courthouse with local representatives recently and decided “the building is worth saving.” Marshall is now determined to see the project become a success, Andrews told The Wave this week. An early estimate shows the project would cost about $6 million, $3 million of which would go towards remodeling structure.

“We’re halfway home already,” Andrews said, before cautioning that the project would not come to fruition “overnight.”

Negotiations, however, are underway to kick-start “CUNY By the Sea” at M.S. 180, on Beach 104 Street.

Sources close to the plan say establishing a center for higher learning on the peninsula will require collaboration between Marshall and local representatives, the Department of Education, the School Construction Authority, the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, CUNY and others. “The ultimate goal is excellence in education,” said Andrews.

The next meeting to discuss the project is scheduled to take place at Marshall’s office on Friday, November 8.

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