2010-08-06 / Top Stories

Council Forms Rockaway Task Force

By Nicholas Briano

Rockaway residents often believe their voices are as far removed from City Hall as their very geographic location.

However, this week Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council announced the formation of the Rockaway Task Force, which is aimed at addressing the forgotten and overlooked needs of the entire peninsula. A panel of eight Rockaway residents, four each from Councilmember Sanders and Councilmember Ulrich’s districts, was selected to form the task force.

The group was formed based on the councilmembers’ recommendation to do so and will serve alongside borough commissioners from various city agencies to “examine and address several local issues facing the Rockaways, and to come up with a comprehensive plan to try and resolve them,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, who will help lead the effort, said in a statement.

Each councilmember was asked to provide the names of four local residents to serve on the Task Force. Councilman Sanders nominated Charles Jacobs, president of Arverne by the Sea Civic Association; Sender Schwartz, community leader in Far Rockaway’s orthodox community; Andrea Sanders, president of Victorious Women’s Organization; and local activist Ed Williams. From the 32nd District, Councilman Ulrich chose Karen Sloan-Payne, Dayton Towers’ representative for Civic and Political Affairs; Steven Greenberg, former president of the Breezy Point Co-op; John Lepore, president of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce; and Dan Mundy Sr., a longtime Community Board 14 member and environmentalist.

The Rockaway Task Force held its initial meeting inside City Hall late last week. Task Force members were asked to look towards ways to stimulate economic development, improve transportation, and address housing and building issues on the peninsula. They may also choose to focus on other important areas raised at subsequent meetings. According to a City Council spokesperson, the Task Force will keep a narrow focus on practical solutions that work for everyone. As a result, they have already agreed to host three town hall style meetings, one in September in the middle of the peninsula, and one additional meeting in each of the two council districts over the next few months. In November, the Task Force is expected to submit to Wolfson and the City Council, an official report detailing peninsula-wide recommendations for the city’s consideration.

A spokesperson for the City Council says they are hopeful that the Rockaway Task Force will deliver real results that improve the quality of life for Rockaway and Broad Channel. The details of the first town hall meeting are in the process of being finalized.

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