2012-07-27 / Editorial/Opinion

Show Up And Push For Alternative B

If you want Fort Tilden to remain Rockaway’s national park, then you had better mark your calendar for either Saturday, August 4 or Friday, August 10 and plan to show up at Riis Park at 11 a.m. to make your voice heard by National Park Service officials. Those two hearings, and like meetings at Sandy Hook and Great Kills Park, will determine the direction Gateway National Recreation Area will take over the next decade or two. If you have a child playing in little league or CYO soccer, if you once enjoyed the summer picnic concerts and Fall Festival hosted by the RMAC, if you enjoy the shows put on by the RTC or the art exhibits put on by the RAA, it is incumbent on you and your friends and family to show up and tell park service officials that you demand Alternative B, because that it the only alternative of the three proposed that would allow for recreation and local cultural presentations. Alternative A is a baseline alternative that calls for exactly what the park has at the present time. It has no chance of being approved. You will find the proposals outlined in detail elsewhere in this paper, but summations will do here. Alternative B is called “Discovering Gateway,” and includes “a multitude of recreational activities for fun, learning and physical activity” including “sports leagues, community activities and special events.” There Rockaway stands, because this alternative allows for all the community-based activities we have come to expect. Alternative C, which is called “Experiencing Preserved

Places,” pushes the ecological, and many of the areas where the Rockaway activities such as sports and cultural activities now take place would be designated for other uses and there would be no recreation or cultural activities. Alternative D is called “Connecting Coastlines,” and focuses completely on coastal ecology, coastal defense and coastal recreation. Again, if this alternative is chosen, the areas now used by the Rockaway community would be designated for other uses. There are really two questions in play for Rockaway. The first is whether or not activities such as youth sports, music and theater, and art exhibits will be deemed “appropriate” for the national park. The second deals with cost, because it appears that using the park will cost local groups dearly. We will have to wait and see how this plays out, but it will not be a happy ending unless those with interests in keeping Rockaway in the park show up for the two hearings in early August.

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