2012-01-27 / Top Stories

NPS, RAA Sign Five-Year Use Agreement

By Howard Schwach

For the past several years, there has been something of a battle going on between National Park Service officials and the leaders of several Rockaway organizations that use Fort Tilden and Riis Park as their local venues.

Two years ago, those park officials put the Rockaway Music and Arts Council’s popular Fall Festival on hold by charging more than the local organization could pay for security and bathroom facilities.

Those same officials have been threatening the Rockaway Little League with huge per-square-foot charges that could easily put the youth organization out of business.

Some parks officials have told The Wave that little league baseball, Broadway shows and concerts “are not part of the park’s mission.”

Now, however, there may have been a breakthrough.

Gateway National Recreation Area officials and the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) have signed a new cooperative agreement to expand programs offered within Gateway’s Fort Tilden area, officials say, adding that all of the programs “will be consistent with the stated mission of the park.”

The agreement was executed December 16.

“Throughout development of the new agreement, RAA has shown an impressive spirit of cooperation and partnership with the NPS that benefits both parties and most importantly the park visitor,” said Superintendent Linda Canzanelli. “This agreement serves everyone. RAA brings the arts to the Rockaway community while they help Gateway preserve historic structures.”

Canzanelli says that she looks forward to similar agreements between the park and other cultural and recreation organizations who utilize Fort Tilden.

The agreement will foster arts-based education addressing conservation of natural and historical resources. RAA arts education and outreach programs help Gateway interpret and convey the importance of the park’s natural and recreational features and foster stewardship for future generations.

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