2009-07-31 / Front Page

Slow Start For Rockaway Recovery $

By Nicholas Briano

The Federal stimulus package was announced in April and shortly thereafter New York State released a list of approximately 14,000 projects for which it wanted the stimulus money used, including ten projects in Rockaway.

To date, however, although New York State has received $18 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), only $3 billion has been disbursed to date, according to the government's tracking website. That total includes money for only a handful of Rockaway projects.

Projects announced in the recovery efforts included heating and roofing replacements for the Beach 41st Street Houses and boardwalk repairs in select areas of the peninsula.

According to recovery.org, a website that posts approved stimulus projects, the money allocated for roof replacement at 38-20 Beach Channel Drive will be used to replace leaking roofs and conduct asbestos abatement at the four residential buildings in the housing complex, including the complex's community center.

The $8.7 million project will prevent water infiltration into apartments, preventing structural damage to buildings, experts say.

That project was previously designed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) but could not be carried out due to a lack of funds. The roof is expected to be completed by early 2011.

In addition to roof replacements, the Beach 41st Street Houses will also get a much-needed $460,000 heating upgrade.

This funding will be used in conjunction with $3.4 million in NYCHA funding to replace the vacuum, condensate, and sump pumps for the heating system of the four buildings of the Beach 41st Street Houses, specifically at 40- 20 Beach Channel Drive, and is expected to be completed by August 2010.

Twenty-eight Queens stimulus projects have been announced thus far, totaling $178,920,000 across the borough, according to recovery.org.

One project in limbo prior to stimulus funding, is the extensive boardwalk repairs, although some repairs will be made in selected areas.

The ARRA will provide $15 million for boardwalk repairs, creating 163 jobs throughout the two year project.

Officials say that the repairs are designed to reconstruct the crumbling portions of the deteriorated boardwalk, which constantly require band-aid repairs or partial reconstruction. The reconstruction will be done using sustainable materials that have a lower carbon footprint, lower maintenance costs and reduce future deterioration to unsafe conditions.

Boardwalks from Beach 23 to 27 Streets; Beach 44 to 55 Streets, and Beach 77 to 81 Streets will be repaired under the funding.

The new boardwalks will not require repair or replacement as frequently as the existing structures, officials say.

Rockaway projects vetted by the state but not yet funded, include $8 million for the YMCA on Beach 73 Street; a $14 million nature preserve for Arverne East, a Workforce Development Program to be run by the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) costing $750,000; construction of an addition to Shore Front Parkway and Beachfront Road that would extend the road from Beach 108 Street to Beach 32 Street and connect with Seagirt Boulevard, funded eventually with more than $125 million; and the construction of infrastructure and reconstruction of the subway structure in connection with Arverne By The Sea that would develop a transit center hub for the peninsula, for $20 million.

Other projects also listed in the April report included the RDRC's new headquarters in Far Rockaway, called the Renaissance Center, funded with $500,000; the rehabilitation of the entire Rockaway A Line, funded with $56 million and rehabilitation of the two Rockaway NYPD station houses, the 101 and 100 Precincts, funded with $112,000.

It remains to be seen if these $224 million worth of Rockaway stimulus projects will be announced as more money is released to the state in the coming year.

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