2011-03-25 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

Rec-re-a-tion (n)
By Sharon Gabriel

Rec-re-a-tion, n: amusement, diversion, entertainment, pasttime, sport. These are some of the meanings of the word found in my dictionary. What part of those meanings does our government not understand regarding Ft. Tilden and Riis Park since they are part of the Gateway National “Recreation“ Area? Each of those meanings affect a group that has used our park for the past years.

I believe those in Washington who oversee the Department of the Interior which covers parks are wearing blinders as some horses do in races so they only see what is in front of them and can’t see anything else. That is exactly what Washington is doing. They talk to and listen to the environmentalists and no one else. I can believe that not one higher-up has ever been to Ft. Tilden and Riis Park to see what they are like. THERE IS NOTHING THERE!!! if the park can’t be used by the neighborhood. You might as well lock the gates and close the beach.

I finally am seeing some movement by our neighbors; there were two letters in the “Letters” column in last week’s Wave and several articles. Thank you for taking up the cause. Maybe, maybe the word is getting out and if we scream loud enough someone might hear us.

The MyRockPark (Rockaway Park HomeownersResidents, Inc.) group had a notice in the paper last week regarding Gateway asking for our comments on its proposed General Management Plan with a deadline of last Tuesday, I’m sure they will still listen if we have some comments as to the use of the park. You can write and fax to the “Superintendent, Gateway National Recreation Area, 210 New York Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305 or fax to: 718-354-4764. You can even e-mail if you’re so inclined to http://parkplanning.nps.gov/gate then click on “General Management Plan” and follow instructions. (I’m not into e-mail yet, so I hope that address helps.) Let them know we want our park back for “recreation.”

Could you imagine if Yankee Stadium or Citi Field started charging by the foot for anyone who came to use the stadiums. That’s what Gateway wants to do to the little league, charge them per square foot for the use of their fields according to another article in last week’s Wave. (I almost can’t believe such a thing.) What happens if some kid hits a solid homer over the fence? How is the park going to charge for that? Are they going out there with a measuring stick? “Let me see that’s three feet beyond what they are paying for. What do we charge them?” It’s getting ridiculous and don’t forget to bring your own toilet paper.

While it’s true the U.S. helps all the world, they can’t seem to find funds to keep a park open for use by a local community. Something is truly wrong here.

Even if you yourself do not use the park much or at all, please contact our officials both local and in Washington to let them know how important our park is and how devastated the community would be if they didn’t listen to us for once.

Thanks for listening. See you around the neighborhood.

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