2008-08-01 / Editorial/Opinion

Procrastination May Bring An Empty Bush

Sometimes clichés are not trite. Rockaway has a habit of looking a gift horse in the mouth, of forgetting that one in the hand is worth two in the bush. It is quickly becoming apparent that we have once again shot ourselves in the foot by delaying the promised YMCA in a time of increasing costs to the point where we may well not even get what we were promised in the first place. You will remember that in August of 2007 a group of locals went to the community board and decried the plans for the promised YMCA. They wanted two more lanes added to the lap pool and an indoor gymnasium. Those are laudable goals, to be sure, but the question was and remains, "Who is going to pay for the extras?" The ad-hoc committee was sure that the city would come up with the money, or that local politicians would find it somehow. Then, they came up with an idea that the Port Authority would somehow fund the extras. They convinced Community Board 14 to buy into their dream. The CB asked that the project be put on hold awaiting the extra money. Today, a year later, the YMCA is still a pile of dirt and none of the money is forthcoming. Worse, it looks from an August 1 perspective that it will not be coming anytime soon. What did the ad-hoc committee gain? Some notoriety and some ink in the daily papers. What did Rockaway lose? A year in which the YMCA could have been nearing completion. Now, the Department of Environmental Conservation wants to take away the toxic soil from the abandoned LILCO coal gasification plant on Beach 108 Street and Beach Channel Drive. Rockaway has been asking for nearly a decade that the soil be removed. Some locals, however, including Democratic District Leader Lew Simon, do not like the plan to truck the soil out of Rockaway. They want the plan put on hold until a better way - barge, helicopter, conjuring - can be found. They plan to ask the Community Board to put a hold on the plan. We hope the community board has learned its lesson. The plan should be implemented as soon as possible and construction on the YMCA should begin as well.

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