2007-09-21 / Front Page

Applicants Sought For Y Advisory Panel

By Brian Magoolaghan

Applications are being accepted for the community advisory board that will play an important role in shaping the programming offered by the future YMCA at Arverne By The Sea.

Community Board 14 and the YMCA of Greater New York want to assemble a panel of 12-15 community members who represent a "cross section of the entire [Rockaway] Peninsula and Broad Channel," CB14 Chairperson Dolores Orr said at last week's board meeting at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

The panel is expected to play an important role in shaping the Y's programming - everything from hours of operation to swim classes to health lectures and more - while making sure that the offerings are tailored to the community's needs.

Linda Allocco, a YMCAvice president in charge of youth and family programming citywide, who also oversees the Cross Island and Bronx Y's, described a "long process" of choosing what health and wellness options will be offered.

"There is no program for your YMCAbecause I haven't met you," Allocco explained to a small group of board and community members at a summer meeting at Peninsula Hospital Center. "The thing that you need to know is that this will be your Y. We want to create a place where everyone feels welcome," she added.

Orr said the board was in the process of mailing out about 200 notices to those on its regular mailing list.

Some have criticized the Y's developers for not involving CB14 and the community at large in the design phase of the proposed facility, which they say could have eliminated the recent controversy over the lap pool and basketball courts. Board members voted last week to express dissatisfaction with the current Y design, and while a top Y official said there's about 60 days to include $4.5 million in requested changes, it remains unclear this week who's in charge of soliciting the funds and from where.

Meanwhile, Orr said the Y usually seeks community involvement when it's time to think about programming, and appears to be proactive on that issue.

"The shovels are not in the ground yet, and they're looking to put programming together, which I think is a good thing," Orr told The Wave this week. Construction on the 32,000 square-foot, $13 million facility is slated to start on the northwest corner of Beach 73 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard by year's end, around the same time the members of the advisory panel are chosen.

Resumes, which are to be accompanied by a cover letter, are due to Community Board 14 by October 5. They are being accepted via email, CBRock14@nyc.rr.com; fax, 718-868-2657; or mail/hand delivery at 19-31 Mott Avenue, Far Rockaway, New York 11691. For more information, call 718-471- 7300.

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