Rockaway Treated Like Second-Class Citizen
The following letter was sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
Rockaway residents have long awaited the commitment made by the city and the developers of the Arverne Urban Renewal Area project, from the Mayor's press release November 9, 2006, "which will create 4,100 units of housing that will house over 10,000 New Yorkers," to provide the promised community center to support the needs of our entire peninsula population, both present and future.
From the mayor's press release November 9, 2006, "The plans for the YMCA call for the construction of a brand new 30,000 square foot, twostory building that will have supporting programs and services for 10,000 people. The YMCAplans to offer after school programs and youth sports, including extensive swim instruction and lifeguard training - both firsts for this beach neighborhood. In addition, more than 65,000 square feet of open space will be developed to accommodate the expected expansion of the facility as the community continues to grow."
The planned YMCA of 30,000 square feet will not meet Rockaway's needs. The additional 65,000 square feet of open space that will accommodate the expected expansion of the facility must be included now, as this community continues to grow. We are having a housing boom in the Rockaways. This, along with HPD development of the Arverne Urban Renewal area, is creating a huge tax boom for our city.
How will the YMCA's plan to offer after-school programs and youth sports, including extensive swim instruction and lifeguard training, be implemented with only four swimming lanes, no racquetball or handball courts, no interior gymnasium, and therefore no basketball, volleyball, gymnastics or tennis. This plan will cheat our youth who will not have the resources to compete equally with their fellow New Yorkers.
This is unacceptable. Rockaway has been treated as a second-class citizen for too long. We have been told that the developer and the YMCA are committing $7 million each for the center. With our city financially strong and a new tax base coming out of the Rockaways, I urge you to please find the funds to give this community what it so desperately needs and what it has been promised, a community center, which will serve as a Mecca for the diverse population of Rockaway and Broad Channel.