Meeks Gives State Of The Rockaways Address
By Miriam Rosenberg
Hurricane preparedness and the Thriftway Shopping Center were the top priorities raised by Congressman Gregory Meeks on January 26 during his State of the Rockaways address.
At the Town Hall style-meeting, Meeks said the Office of Emergency Management must return to the Rockaways to talk about the agency’s plans for the Peninsula.
“We don’t need a category four storm,” said Meeks. “It could be category one or two. What are the evacuation procedures? What happens if people don’t have the means to get out? We could have a meeting just on those issues.” He was also concerned about the reception the OEM’s current plan got at the last Community Board 14 meeting.
“I know [Community Board 14’s district manager] Jonathan Gaska was not pleased with what [OEM] presented to the planning board,” said Meeks. “Jonathan and I are going to talk to them about that. That’s why I want to dedicate a whole meeting for that, where we could have more time to deal with that because there are problems.
“We’ve got to work … together so we could come up with something that’s acceptable to everybody.”
Meeks also said he is working with the city to declare the Thriftway Shopping Center, on Mott Avenue in the Far Rockaway Business District, an urban renewal zone.
“This gives us the power to either sell or take the property,” said Meeks, who called it an eyesore.
Among the agency heads invited to the meeting was Khayriyyah Ali, the director of the SUNY/Queens Educational Opportunity Center for Education and Employment located in Jamaica. “[The center] is a physical entity to help people get employment education,” said Ali. Assemblywoman Michele Titus also announced a new Advanced Technology Training and Information Network (ATTAIN) computer lab that, according to Ali, should be open at 15-26 Central Avenue in Far Rockaway by March or April.