2010-11-12 / Community

RWA Talks About Waterfront Access

Students at Scholars’ Academy working on mapping public waterfront access on the Rockaway peninsula. Students at Scholars’ Academy working on mapping public waterfront access on the Rockaway peninsula. Over the past few months Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, along with Trust for Public Land and Jonathan Rose & Co have been working with the Rockaway community to get feedback on waterfront access, parks and future open space development in the Rockaways. The people who have taken part in this process have been one of the most diverse mixes of people, both young and old, to take part in such a process and has been critical to getting input from constituents who traditionally have not been involved in planning processes.

Students from local schools Kappa VI, Scholars’ Academy and NYCHA Ocean Bay took part in some of the meetings and shared the planning work they have been doing all summer as they traveled to parks throughout the city and met with some of the country’s leading landscape architects and planners to bring back what they learned to share with the local Rockaway community.

Kappa students participate with community at planning meeting. Kappa students participate with community at planning meeting. Many of the people who took part commented on how respectful people were as they listened to one another. Longtime resident Joe Hartigan even commented on how much he had learned during this process from the young people themselves. “I’ve been here a long time but to hear a teenager discussing tree canopies, storm water management and other ideas for improving the area really took me by surprise. It was really refreshing to see people working together and to realize that even at my age there is still so much to learn.”

RWA has a planning page on their website at www.rwalliance.org for the public to access all the presentations shown to date and can add comments to the planning blog. The public is encouraged to contribute by attending the next meeting. To RSVP for the November 10 meeting email: info@rwalliance.org.

In addition to the planning meetings, RWA will also be hosting a bus tour on Saturday, November 13 that will be a part of the public space planning process. The tour will give the public an opportunity to see the areas that have been discussed in the meetings and learn more about the natural resources and topography along the entire Rockaway peninsula. The bus tour is free but RSVP is required as space is limited and will be on a first come first serve basis. To reserve a seat, email: info@rwalliance.org to receive confirmation. The tour will depart at 11 a.m. from the Beach 59 Street firehouse and will return by 3 p.m. The tour will proceed rain or shine. People should bring their own brown bag lunch and water.

This is the first time a process like this has taken place in the Rockaways, but ironically is being done in tandem with the NYC Department of City Planning’s Vision 20/20 Comprehensive Waterfront Planning process for all NYC waterfront. The final results of the Rockaway process, it is hoped, will add recommendations to the city’s initiative and finally put “Rockaway on the map,” as one resident commented.

Last week the last of the community listening sessions took place to get community input on public space in the Rockaway peninsula. Over 300 local residents, including youth, were engaged in the process and the input will be presented at the next meeting on November 10, 7 p.m. at Peninsula Hospital meditation room. This upcoming meeting will have a different format as it will be focused on the entire Rockaway peninsula and will be an opportunity for residents to present ideas and specific projects that they would like to see come to fruition. These recommendations can be smaller programmatic initiatives to larger construction projects. At the end of the process RWA hopes to have a number of projects that the community will prioritize to seek funding for in the coming year.

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