2010-06-11 / Editorial/Opinion
Please Mister Mayor, Pass The Waiver
There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that the construction of the new YMCA planned for Beach 73 Street in Arverne By The Sea is an important piece in what is the puzzle of Rockaway’s revitalization. So, we were cheered when we saw the pilings being driven for both the Y and the new Super Stop and Shop Supermarket across Beach 73 Street. Now, the supermarket is going up apace and is expected to be ready for shoppers by Thanksgiving of this year. All construction, however, seems to have ended with the pilings on the Y site. When we finally were able to find out why construction had stopped, we found that Rockaway is caught in a Catch-22 situation. The YMCA has apparently found the money to put a roof on the Y’s gymnasium, something that local residents demanded from the first. Constructing the roof, however, adds significant cost to the project, triggering a local law known as Local Law 86, which requires capital projects costing more than $12 million to go green – that is, to follow a very specific set of national regulations for saving energy and making the project energy-efficient. The original plans for the Y, which were approved by the city last year, do not include those energy saving amenities. That means, if the roof goes up, the plans have to be changed and we are looking at two more years before the Y is constructed. That is unreasonable. The building can still be constructed under the old plans if the mayor gives the project a waiver. So far, his office has been silent on the matter. We urge him to provide the waiver and to do it soon. Rockaway needs the Y and the Y needs the mayor’s waiver. It is a nobrainer.