2012-08-10 / Community

Gateway ‘Meeting’ Draws Small Turnout

Complaint That ‘Meeting’ Is Misnomer
By Howard Schwach


National Park Service Planning Team members speak with locals on the boardwalk at Riis Park.. National Park Service Planning Team members speak with locals on the boardwalk at Riis Park.. Dozens of Rockaway residents came to the Riis Park boardwalk on Saturday, ready for a meeting with National Park Service representatives, to find out about the planned options for Gateway National Recreation Area and a chance to voice their opinion about the relationship between the park and the Rockaway community.

The promotional brochure for the event was not very specific, locals say. “Meet us at the beach! Stop by to meet our planning team and share your ideas and comments.”

Most who came expected a meeting, but what they got was several yellow-shirted NPS employees who were willing to hand out promotional material and allow locals to fill out a green comment sheet, but who personally did not have a lot to say about the three options, one of which will be chosen early in the fall of 2013.


Locals Vivian Carter (left) and Robin Zweifler argue about the fine points of the alternatives. Locals Vivian Carter (left) and Robin Zweifler argue about the fine points of the alternatives. One of the alternatives noted in the brochure, for example, calls for moving the little league ball fields, now at Fort Tilden, to Riis Park in an area “now within the footprint of the present parking area.”

When representatives from the Little League asked an NPS official whether those fields would be grass or concrete, the answer was, “That decision has not yet been made and probably would not be made for some time.”

While there were a few dozen locals wandering around the NPS tent, looking for somebody to speak with who could answer specific questions, most of them were from groups that presently use Fort Tilden, such as the little league, the CYO soccer program and the Wounded Warriors.

While some locals expected a large turnout, that never happened.



Rockaway Little League officials speak with NPS representative Lincoln Hallowell. Rockaway Little League officials speak with NPS representative Lincoln Hallowell.

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