2011-03-11 / Letters

Doesn’t Sound Fair

Dear Editor,

Gateway wants people to pay to use parkland that the taxpayer has already paid for. They are not requesting a donation, they are charging admission.

Gateway has already killed RMAC’s very popular Fall Festival and the Summer Concert Series. Now they are coming for the playgrounds our children use.

Gateway wants to charge Little League and CYO Soccer for running on their grass, and they want to charge RAA and RTC after they rescued buildings that Gateway neglected for decades. Of course, Gateway says this is necessary because of “fairness” and “cost recovery.”

If “fairness” is the objective, why do some groups get to use Gateway and pay nothing? The National Park Service spent $7 million on a new visitor center at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Why? Visitors there get to use brand new bathrooms, beautiful meeting rooms and a modern parking lot. Yet they pay nothing. Why? RMAC had to pay to use antiquated bathrooms and Little League had to build their own. That doesn’t sound “fair” to me.

Why do children have to pay to run on the fields at Fort Tilden, and we pay to park at Riis Park, yet Gateway provides free parking, bathrooms and manicured trails to birdwatchers? That doesn’t sound “fair” to me.

By crushing RMAC and giving birdwatchers subsidies, Gateway exposes their true agenda. This is not about “fairness” or “cost recovery,” it is about keeping people out of the park.

Call your elected representatives. All of them. And tell them Fort Tilden belongs to the people, all the people, not just the birds. If they disagree, remind them that birds don’t vote, but you do.

VINCE CASTELLANO

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