2011-11-04 / Columnists

East End Matters...

Task Force, Teen Challenge and F.R. Mall
Commentary By Miriam Rosenberg

Recently the Rockaway Task Force handed in their report to the Bloomberg administration with suggestions for the betterment of Rockaway. The report came after more than a year of community meetings and meetings of the Task Force itself, to decide the projects most needed on the peninsula. Transportation, beach access and economic development were highlighted at the beginning of the report. The report says, “as a result of the subdivided sections, the proposals and recommendations [issues] in this report have not been arranged according to significance or priority.” But prioritizing is what should have been done.

Someone said to me recently that, because of the way the report was laid out, he believes that the committee did what the mayor wanted. That leaves the city to do the prioritizing for us, which will probably mean the least expensive or easiest projects will be done first. Wasn’t the Task Force an opportunity for Rockaway to take charge of its future? Now we just return those decisions to City Hall. So a suggestion; The Wave has already reported on the findings of the Task Force. If you wish to read the full report I am sure your local city councilman can provide you with a copy. Read it over, think about it and then let Councilman James Sanders Jr. of the 31st Council District and Eric Ulrich of the 32nd Council District know what you feel are the priories to your lives. Councilmen, it is then your turn. Your job is to fight for what is truly needed here in Rockaway. Not the least expensive or the easiest, but the most important. The Task Force whittled it down, but unfortunately they left the deciding to the city. Don’t let it stop there. Phone numbers and locations of your local councilman can be found within the first few pages of this newspaper. Results are what counts. Working together we can get those results.

By the way, the Task Force report brings up a very good question – what has happened with the revitalization of the Far Rockaway Shopping Center? Renovations that began last year seem to have stopped. The Far Rockaway Shopping Center, not the Stark Mall as the Rockaway Task Force identifies it, is the linchpin to downtown Far Rockaway’s business district. Councilman Sanders has been at the forefront of the project after his one-onone meeting with the owner, Rita Stark, last year. Councilman, the community needs updates on this important project before it begins to think it has once again been let down.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the Rockaway Teen Challenge, formerly the Rockaway Olympics. I believed that it could not go forward without the organizers getting permission from either the International Olympic Committee or the United States Olympic Committee to use the trademarked word, ‘Olympic.’ My congratulations to the group for changing the name and avoiding a possible lawsuit. However, in that same article the problem surrounding the trademarked Olympic torch, which is in the Teen Challenge logo, was mentioned.

One week after that commentary a flyer with a photo I had taken circulated advertising an event for the Teen Challenge. It may have seemed odd to say, ‘proceed with caution’ one week, and then allow a photo taken by me to be used to advertise this event, the next week. Let me make this clear; the photo was used without my permission. To the organizers’ credit, specifically Denean Ferguson, they redid the flyer for the event. While the logo is not on the flyer, there has been no official announcement about it. Until there is, I still believe that the logo must be changed. As with both the word ‘Olympic’ and the torch, the organizers have the attitude, do first and ask questions later, hoping that no one will object. That is shortsighted.

I want to be writing about the good that this event can achieve and the young people involved. That should be the story. It is time for the organizers to get their act together, otherwise we will lose a wonderful opportunity to bring both ends of the peninsula and their youth together.

By the way, the Teen Challenge will host an event at the new skateboard park on Beach 13 Street and Seagirt Boulevard this Saturday from 12 to 2 p.m.

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