2009-06-12 / Top Stories

CB14 Approves Street Naming For Baxter, Hernandez

By Howard Schwach

Owen Baxter makes plea for "his Bev" to get eight-block stretch of Rockaway Beach Boulevard named after her. Owen Baxter makes plea for "his Bev" to get eight-block stretch of Rockaway Beach Boulevard named after her. After several heart-wrenching pleas and a minimum of discussion, Community Board 14 voted on Tuesday night to approve the renaming of several Rockaway streets in the memory of two locals, one a community icon who passed away from a debilitating illness and the other a young high school football player who was brutally shot and killed as he walked home from work with his brother.

Beverly Baxter was a community activist who spent a good deal of time working with local organizations for the good of Rockaway.

Speaker after speaker stood to tell of Baxter and the good she had done for Rockaway.

Friends and family members asked that Rockaway Beach Boulevard, from Beach 108 to Beach 116 Streets, be renamed in Baxter's honor, "Beverly Baxter Boulevard."

The board's district manager, Jonathan Gaska, explained that the city would provide only one street sign for street renaming purposes, and that the board's policy is that one block would be renamed, not the requested several blocks.

Family and friends of Beverly Baxter, including her former husband, Owen (right) wait for the board to make a decision on their request that a portion of Rockaway Beach Boulevard be named for the Rockaway Icon. Family and friends of Beverly Baxter, including her former husband, Owen (right) wait for the board to make a decision on their request that a portion of Rockaway Beach Boulevard be named for the Rockaway Icon. Family members, including former husband Owen Baxter and her mother, father and sister, all pleaded for the extra streets.

Delores Orr, the board's president, said that naming several blocks for Baxter would be disrespectful to the firefighters who died in 9/11 and only got one block named for them.

Newly-elected City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who was friendly with Baxter, said that he would get the Department of Transportation to make a second sign, "even if I have to pay for the damn thing myself."

In the end, the board voted unanimously to ask for Rockaway Beach Boulevard, from Beach 108 Street to Beach 116 Street to be named for Baxter.

Similarly, the board voted unanimously for renaming the corner of Mott Avenue and Gateway Boulevard in Far Rockaway "Patrick Hernandez- Hayes Boulevard," in honor of a young man who was working hard to save money for his first year in college when he was shot by another teen who reportedly was jealous of Hernandez's success.

Jeff Cohen, the chair of the board's committee, said that they had received dozens of letters from church officials and local residents asking for the designation.

Both of the recommendations now go to the City Council for action.

The council is expected to take up the renaming requests in October.

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