2006-09-22 / Community

Parks Admin Has A Lot In Mind For Rockaway

By Brian Magoolaghan

Jill Weber (standing) the Department of Parks and Recreation's Rockaway Administrator, speaks at last week's Community Board 14 meeting. Jill Weber (standing) the Department of Parks and Recreation's Rockaway Administrator, speaks at last week's Community Board 14 meeting.

Have you ever wanted to go kayaking on the beach? How about watching a movie on the sand? Do the ideas of establishing another "surfing only" beach, having beach volleyball nets for public use or the construction of a miniature golf course on Shore Front Parkway interest you?

Rockaway's new Parks Administrator, Jill Weber, talked to residents and members of Community Board 14 about those ideas last week, when she introduced herself and briefed the community on some of the ideas the Department of Parks and Recreation has in mind for local parks.

Weber talked about bringing back evening music programs during the warmer months and added that she's "looking beyond summer," so that Rockaway and Broad Channel's parks are year-round attractions.

She'll dedicate a lot of her time this winter to grant-writing and other fundraising, she said.

One thing that may materialize this winter is a dog run. As previously reported in The Wave, a spot on Shore Front Parkway at Beach 104 Street and the Rockaway Freeway Park are competing to become the site of Rockaway's first dog park. The public is invited to weigh in at a meeting at the Beach Club on Wednesday, September 27, 7 p.m.

"Dog people really want a dog run in this community," Weber said. Dog owners might want to mark October 14 on their calendar as well. "It's My Bark Day," a Halloween costume contest for doggies that's a spin-off of "It's My Park Day" will be held here. Check The Wave's "It's What's Happening" section for more details on the event.

Locations on Shore Front Parkway, west of Beach 88 Street, are also being looked at for a miniature golf course concession, something that has been discussed for about two years. The city hasn't yet released a request for proposals (RFP), which would be the first step towards making it a reality.

Another concession could come to Beach 17 Street, near O'Donohue Park, in Far Rockaway, Weber said.

Residents and visitors may soon see some major changes on the boardwalk, too. Weber said repair and management of the promenade is a major interest and that "a lot of money is being discussed" for repairs and projects including the addition of wheelchair access and the acquisition of special chairs equipped with oversize tires that can roll through the sand.

An adopt-a-bench program is also under serious consideration. That could bring brand new, uniform benches along the entire length of the boardwalk. There's also talk of eliminating all of the benches on the north side of the boards to create enough room for a bike lane near the center, like in Long Beach.

Weber also hinted that she's about to get tough on the subject of motorized vehicles on the boardwalk - something that has long been blamed for damage and pedestrian safety issues. She said vehicles should only be used during an emergency, trash collection or when there is no other alternative. "Drive small vehicles or drive on the street," she said. "It's becoming my mantra."

Weber also gave out her telephone number: (718) 318-400 and email: Jill.Weber@Parks.nyc.gov and urged people with parks-related concerns to contact her. "I'm happy to go out and take a look," she said. "I'll help advocate for your needs."

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