2007-11-30 / Editorial/Opinion

City's 'Something For Rockaway' Could Be Y Expansion

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Dan Doctoroff, the head of the city's Economic Development Corporation (EDC), have been pouring millions of dollars into Brooklyn's Coney Island to make new spaces for both housing and recreational facilities. What has Rockaway been promised? More affordable housing. It is time to do something for Rockaway. That something for Rockaway could be the five million dollars necessary to expand the planned YMCA on Beach 73 Street, by adding four lanes to the pool and placing the basketball courts inside the building rather than al fresco. That doesn't seem too much to ask in light of all the big bucks that are moving down the Belt Parkway to Brooklyn. An ad hoc committee of local residents, an amalgam of activists from both ends of the peninsula and representing many constituencies, has been meeting with political leaders on a regular basis to try to find the money to make the improvements. One suggestion, made more than two months ago, was to use money earmarked for Rockaway from the city's agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. That agreement gave the semipublic agency control of the three local airports, in return for a pool of money that could be used for community development. That money is controlled by Doctoroff. A small chunk of that money would satisfy the pool committee's demands. Failing that, the city should make up the difference between Arverne By The Sea's mandate to build a community center in Arverne and the community's desire to see a state-of-theart facility, rather than what the committee sees as the "second rate" facility now planned for the site. Five million is not a lot of money by city budget standards. That amount pales in comparison with what the city plans for Brooklyn. All we can say to the mayor and his EDC commissioner is "get it done!" Rockaway deserves the expanded facility and the city should provide for it.

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