2005-02-04 / Columnists


By Joanie Omeste, Executive Director, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

Joanie Omeste
Joanie Omeste Every year the Rockaway Chamber honors members of the New York Police Department, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services for outstanding service to the community. This year the Annual Bravest and Finest Luncheon will be held on Thursday, April 21 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach.

Please mark the date on your calendars. Reservations are absolutely necessary. The cost will be $45 if you pay for your reservation in advance and $50 at the door; Police Officers, Firefighters and EMS $30. Please call the Chamber office for more information or to fax you a reservation form….more to follow.

The success of the Doe Fund’s street-cleaning program has made an incredible improvement to the shopping area of Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

The Chamber met with Councilman James Sanders recently to discuss instituting the program for the Far Rockaway shopping district. He was extremely impressed with the program and its success on Beach 116, and enthusiastically agreed to fund the program for Far Rockaway. The Chamber will be working with Councilman Sanders and the Doe Fund to see this project to fruition….more to follow.

Another project of Councilman Sanders is to produce a Rockaway Area MapGuide. The Chamber is working with the Councilman along with RDRC, Margert Community Corporation and American Patriot Publishing to roll out this comprehensive and colorful map of the entire Rockaway Peninsula. An initial run of 75,000 maps will be distributed from businesses throughout the Peninsula. American Patriot Publishing is selling ad space which ranges from listings and logos to full panel ads on the map….ad space prices start at $200.

If you are interested American Patriot Publishing can be contacted at (800) 211-5913…..A kickoff breakfast will be scheduled for sometime in late February to learn more about this exciting endeavor…..more to follow.

The Chamber’s work on starting a Business Improvement District has been progressing. The Steering Committee is developing a survey which will be distributed to all the property owners and businesses in the specified area…..Beach 116th Street from the Beach to the Bay, Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Beach Blvd from Beach 108th Street to Beach 116th Street. The survey is designed to determine which services business owners and property owners feel are most important and needed to this specific area.

These services can range from street cleaning to public safety to banner programs promoting the neighborhood to street festivals. If you do receive one of these surveys, it is extremely important to get your opinions.…more to follow.

In early April (exact date to be determined), the Chamber in conjunction with RDRC will host a business card exchange at Peninsula Hospital. This business card exchange will focus on minority-owned, women-owned and locally based enterprises related in any way to the construction industry. The School Construction Authority, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the MTA will be on hand to speak about programs they have instituted which offer partnership and work opportunities to minority-owned, women-owned and locally based enterprises. We urge you to attend as they will guide you through the process of working with them and expanding your business.

The price of admission will be $10 and food will be served……more to follow.

As I’m sure you’ve no doubt noticed, and read about in this paper, the Department of Sanitation has been working hard to clean up the Rockaways. They intend to keep the Rockaways clean and would like to ask that the residents and businesses of the area do their part in not littering. I’m actually surprised that in this day, that needs to be requested.

An area strewn with litter and debris gives the perception of declining community, all it takes to combat this perception is to throw your litter in one of the many trash receptacles throughout the neighborhood.

A clean area, is one where people would rather come in order to patronize its businesses.

Also, you should be aware that dumping trash in lots is illegal, even if the lot is abandoned. In many cases, you will see signs posted offering a reward if you see someone dumping trash.

If you get a license plate or better yet a photo, rewards range up to half the price of the fine, which in most cases is substantial.

The Sanitation Department will do their part, but it’s also up to all of us to keep the community looking its best.

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