Bulkhead Is Good News
I was pleased to read in last week’s WAVE that the Mayor has come up with $8 million dollars to repair the bulkhead at Beach 108 Street. This is clearly a step in the right direction for the Rockaway community. The National Grid location has been a toxic location for many years.
The cost to taxpayers and National Grid customers for the cleanup of the site has cost millions of dollars. The Rockaway community was not impressed with the way National Grid handled the clean up over the last three years.
The City needs to work with National Grid to work out the same type of purchasing agreement similar to the one they did for the Elmhurst land that was used to house tanks for natural gas. In that case, the land went through a cleanup and was sold to the city for one dollar. The city then turned the land into a park for the community.
This should be done for the Rockaway community. The waterfront property where the bulkhead repair is to take place is an ideal location for a waterfront promenade with beautiful views of the city. A docking facility would allow for high speed ferry service for our community in the future as well as party boats to come during the city’s peak tourist season to enjoy a day at the beach.
The large parcel of land across the street would house a multipurpose facility that would serve the community. A combination science center/community center is one idea. The science center would focus on the ecology of Jamaica Bay as well as solar and wind power. Partnering with the public school system could provide students with a greater awareness of the environment. A large parking area could be set up to service commuters and visitors.
A community center/meeting space could also be used for monthly Community Board 14 meetings and other community activities.
It is my hope that the Mayor and City Planning look beyond the repair on the bulkhead and develop a comprehensive plan for the use of this land that will best serve the Rockaway community for years to come.