2010-01-29 / Letters

What We Would Like To See Built At MGP Site

Dear Editor,

The National Grid cleanup of the land on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 108 Street is in full swing. At a recent Community Board 14 meeting we were told by State and National Grid officials that the work should be completed by this August.

The cost for the cleanup is approximately $40,000,000. That money comes from the customers of National Grid. That means all of us in the Rockaways who receive gas from National Grid are paying for this clean up. Recently, when I calculated what I was paying last year for gas and what my new monthly plan will cost, it increased by over 50 percent. In these hard economic times, this hurts, and I would like to see our money used in a way that benefits our community.

Accordingly, I think it is time for our community to consider what we would like to see happen to the National Grid site once the cleanup is completed. The site could greatly enhance the quality of life for the Rockaway community and all residents of the city if developed properly. I envision a Rockaway Technology/Environmental Resource Center. A building could be constructed that could be used to highlight the marine life in Jamaica Bay, alternate energy sources (wind and solar), and the science behind the DEP’s water treatment plant.

A large portion of the lot would be left open to be used for parking. At the same time wind turbines and solar panels could be strategically placed on the open space and tied into the LIPA Grid. A key to the development will be the waterfront property. It is my understanding the City is responsible for the waterfront property across the street. A promenade “ and docking/pier facility would be ideal for this area. High speed water taxis could use the site to pick up and drop off commuters. Fishing could be done by the sea wall. Party boats could pick up people for dinner cruises and tours of the bay and City. Parking for commuters and others would be available across the street at the main site.

Funding for such an endeavor could come from a number of sources such as National Grid, LIPA, DEP and the City of New York. Federal dollars could also be requested to spur economic development in the Rockaways. The project would create jobs, stimulate spending in the surrounding commercial district and enhance the quality of life in the Rockaways.

Well, I’ve shared my thought with you on the future use of the National Grid cleanup site. I’m sure others in the community have good ideas for the use of this site. The important thing at this time is that we begin focus on the issue, ask questions and let our feelings be known to our elected officials and the city. If we do not plan ahead someone else may do it for us. We do not need a repeat of the fiasco of half completed homes on BCD and Beach 104 Street that stand out as an example of what could go wrong when the city and community are not paying attention to the details.

HANK IORI

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