Weiner Visits Rockaway For Town Hall Meeting
With the snow still falling and a sparse crowd on hand at Public School 114 on Tuesday night, Congressman Anthony Weiner held a town hall meeting to address Rockaway’s concern about missing sand, unkempt little league fields and health care reform, not necessarily in that order.
“We are looking at both sides of the peninsula, from the ocean to the bay on this barrier beach to find a long-term solution to the loss of sand and marsh grass,” Weiner said. “But because of the emergency created by the last storm, we have to find a way to get sand on the beaches between Beach 81 Street and Beach 110 Street.”
Army Corps of Engineers official Len Houston told the 80 attendees that his agency plans to take the sand dredged from the East Rockaway Inlet, a program already funded, and pump it on to the Rockaway beaches that need the sand. “We usually put the sand somewhere between Beach 20 and Beach 35 Streets,” Houston said. “We now have to pump it further west, and that will take an addition $2.5 million in funding – money that has yet to be allocated.”
When residents pumped him as to why more study was needed and why the agency did not just place rock jetties along the beachfront to retard the loss of sand, Houston said that there were “both environmental and economic considerations” in such a plan.
He added that pumping the sand through pipes on the beach could impact bird populations, and the pipes might therefore have to be placed offshore, adding to the cost of the project.
“We have to balance the needs of the birds, particularly the piping plover population,” with the need to put sand on the beaches,” he said.
After the sand discussion ended, residents asked questions about the poor conditions of the little league baseball fields at Fort Tilden and the tolls on the Cross Bay Bridge.
Weiner had staff people take names, and said that he would look into the problems.