2005-05-27 / Columnists


By Joanie Omeste, Executive Director, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

Joanie Omeste
Joanie Omeste On Monday, May 16, a meeting was held regarding the Flight 587 Memorial as a follow up to the Mayor’s announcement that the memorial will be established on Beach 116 Street. The Rockaway Chamber along with City agencies including the Arts Commission, DOT, the Parks Department, Community Board 14, family representatives, plus representatives from Rockaway civic organizations were in attendance. Discussions were very impassioned. Over 245 RFP’s have been downloaded from the City’s website and the submission review is scheduled for early June. If all goes according to plan, the building of the memorial will encompass a new parking plan for Beach 116 Street which will include the removal of the cumbersome revetments entirely.

On May 13, I attended a community planning meeting which was held by Councilman James Sanders and sponsored by three local neighborhood preservation organizations, Margert Community Corporation, the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) and the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula (JCCRP). The meeting was a follow up to one held in December of 2003, which resulted in an impressive report entitled “ An Analysis of Selected 2000 Census Data for the Rockaway Peninsula .” The meeting was called to discuss the report’s findings and issues important to the community in the areas of economic development, education, health, transportation and quality of life. The meeting brought some fine ideas on how to move forward, and of course brought up a lot more questions. I often hear that this community has “heard it all before,” but this is an intelligent worthwhile endeavor and it’s the right time in the Rockaways to actually move forward. A representative from the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York State was present to gain first hand knowledge of the concerns of the Peninsula. Another planning report will be issued within the next six months fine tuning the issues discussed at the meeting.

Every year the Chamber holds a Public Meeting to discuss it’s accomplishments for the year. This year the meeting will be held on Monday, June 20 at 9:30 a.m., place to be determined. Breakfast will be served and whether a Chamber member or not, I encourage you to attend. Chamber of Commerce board member Steven Greenberg was honored at Friday’s Trinity Services Luncheon. Attended by over a million people, it was a great event bringing money to the much-needed services Trinity provides. Trinity Services, Inc. offers comprehensive community based programs designed for youngsters and older citizens in Queens including an excellent transportation program for seniors. For more information you can contact them at (718) 474-2700…or just read Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey’s column is this paper.

On June 2 the Chamber along with the 100th Precinct is hosting a meeting for the business owners of the Beach 116 Street business area (including Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach Channel Drive) to discuss summer issues that apply to this particular area. If you own a business here and would like to attend the meeting, please contact the Chamber office at (718) 634-1300 to reserve a seat. This meeting will be a good forum for the businesses to raise issues with which they feel the police can be of assistance, as well as meeting the other business owners of the area. Topics will include street clutter, panhandling, graffiti and problems involving people who come down for the day. These are also issues that can be directly attended to once a business improvement district (BID) is formed. Please be aware that this meeting is for business owners (and/ or their representatives) only.

The dates for the New York Kite Festival at the Rockaways has been scheduled for the weekend of August 20-21. Once again, the festival will

feature high-flying fun for the entire family. Kitemaking workshops, food, music and entertainment will be featured throughout the weekend. This year the very popular Kids Kitemaking Tent is sponsored by Keyspan. Kids can design, create and then learn to fly their own kites. The Festival is produced by Sky Festival Productions and the Rockaway Chamber and is held on Bay 9 at Jacob Riis Park. As always, the New York Kite Festival is free of charge.

Summer officially kicks off this weekend. The beach opening ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 24th hosted by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. Speakers included Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Councilman Joe Addabbo and Community Board #14’s Jonathan Gaska. Lots of surf music and little kids dancing added to the festive kick-off. The Chamber wishes everyone a fun-filled, sun-filled and success-filled summer!

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