Group Aims To Develop City Owned Land By Beach Into Garden
As part of their attempt to turn a piece of city-owned property along the boardwalk on Beach 26 Street into a garden, the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance held a workshop for residents to express their ideas for the project to the designer.
"We are living off the longest stretch of underdeveloped public waterfront in the entire state of New York," said Jeanne Dupont of the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance. "Our goal is for the people who live here to understand how public spaces like our garden proposal can strengthen the community in Rockaway through education and learning."
A representative from the Parks Department attended the November workshop, which was held at PS 43.
"We have been looking for an idea for the space, something useful and something wonderful," said Jill Weber of the Parks Department.
Dupont was able to obtain the services of Julie Moir Messervy, a landscape consultant, who has worked on several prominent projects.
Messervy's credits include The Toronto Music Garden, inspired by Bach's "First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello," which she worked on with cellist Yo Yo Ma, and a children's garden she designed for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
Messervy had those at the workshop break up into several groups, and later presented their ideas.
While there were many different suggestions - a windmill park, an amphitheatre with tree stumps as seats, a sprinkler fed by the sea water, a coral seashell retreat, a wild life habitat and an outdoor classroom - the theme of using the natural energy of the sun, wind and water to run the garden was utmost in people's minds.
In addition, Messervy held three similar workshops with students from PS 43 during the day to get their ideas about what they want to see in the new garden.
Among the various ideas was a butterfly sanctuary, a park built around the idea of plants and music, a hip-hop studio and a place with a family circle.
"The kids had some great ideas," said Messervy. "I want to use some of them."
Dupont said, "Reaching out to these kids has been a positive way for these students to be involved in their own community by establishing stewardship and an appreciation for their environment." Dupont added things would stay on hold until they can get funding, along with public and political support for the garden.
Messervy was optimistic, saying, "If you have a great idea, people get on board."
Anyone interested in the project can obtain more information at www. rockawaywaterfrontalliance. org.