2012-01-06 / Columnists

East End Matters

Look Ahead …
Commentary By Miriam Rosenberg

With the New Year just hours away from when this issue hits the newsstands, it seems a good time to look ahead to what might be some of the stories or issues that we will be talking about in 2012.

First, a story that has occupied space in The Wave and has been on the lips of residents for months – Peninsula Hospital.

Everyone believed the investment by Revival Home Health Care was the answer to the prayers to keep the embattled hospital open.

Now, the court has appointed an examiner while the State Department of Health investigates whether Revival or the board of directors is running the hospital.

While that is taking place, a $1.5 million mortgage has been taken out on the adjacent nursing home so that the hospital can meet operating expenses. This was done even though a $5 million loan was offered by one of the members of the board of directors.

Martin Oliner, a business attorney and the mayor of Lawrence, Long Island, and a group of associates offered the loan but it was rejected because there were too many conditions connected with it.

The CEO of PHC, Todd Miller, has said more money will be needed by the end of this month.

He also told a town hall meeting in Rockaway Park earlier this month that despite the money problems they have grand plans for the facility. They include the growth of the CCU and cancer care units, expansion of the emergency room and the construction of a completely new Peninsula Hospital on the current hospital grounds.

Miller said the hospital needs to bring in programs that will attract more doctors, who in turn will bring in the patients.

He said to look for the beginning of the rebuild process in approximately 18 months.

First PHC needs to come out of bankruptcy and the court needs to decide if it will OK the arrangement between Revival and PHC. The state also needs to sort out what is and is not legal about Revival’s relationship with the hospital. Stay tuned, this story is not going away soon.

The Associated Supermarket, which would be the linchpin of a revitalized Far Rockaway Shopping Center, is undergoing an internal renovation. No official word yet on other stores that will be brought in, but if what this reporter is hearing is true (sorry – because of the delicate status I’ve been asked to hold off on details for a short period of time), residents will not be disappointed.

Newly elected Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder has come out swinging since taking office. He has called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finish the studies concerning long-term solutions to the beach erosion that occurs whenever a storm hits the area. In addition, he asks that the possibility of installing rock jetties to help reduce the erosion be examined. In the meantime, Goldfeder suggests a public meeting with Army Corps engineers and local stakeholders to discuss projected maintenance dredging in the East Rockaway inlet.

This is a beach community and our beaches are our treasure. Hurricane Irene showed us what the forces of nature can do in a short period of time. All area representatives need to get behind this one. The sand and the ocean is what brings people to Rockaway. We must take care of it.

The fight continues in Bayswater against granting variances to build a Yeshiva that many residents say is out of character with the neighborhood. The Board of Standards and Appeals has put off a decision on this until the New Year.

Next spring, Far Rockaway East Park is set to open. The skateboard park from Beach 13 to Beach 11 Streets opened to rave reviews this fall. The park from Beach 17 to Beach 13 Streets is in the final stages of construction. With a rolling hill for seating while watching events on the newly constructed stage, a water area for children, and other amenities, Far Rockaway East Park is set to become the jewel of the area. Come down to Seagirt Boulevard and see for yourself.

Remember that the skate park with a basketball court, a climbing rock, and benches and seats is open. And yes, there are spaces to park.

The Rockaway Teen Challenge is scheduled to take place in 2012.

For more information go to http://rock awayolympics.com.

Happy New Year everyone!

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