Need New Community Involvement
The following is an open letter to the Rockaway Beach community. Dear Editor,
An active and vibrant civic association is critical to the quality of life in any neighborhood.
Rockaway Beach has been without an active civic association for a number of years and the quality of life has declined as a result.
Peninsula Hospital closed, Peninsula Preparatory Academy closed, zoning is changed, the beach erodes and what’s left is filthy, the boardwalk goes unrepaired, the streets are torn up, legal parking is confused or eliminated, traffic lanes are eliminated and bike lanes are put in unsafe locations, the wooden jetties that drowned a surfer three years ago are still there, 100 year old trees are destroyed, a summer construction moratorium is mysteriously missing from the sewer contract, dog walkers are hounded by the police to pick up after their dogs yet DFD’s litter our community with impunity, a senior citizen is raped and a 17 year old is murdered by gangs on the Boulevard. Yet the voice of the community is silent since there is no way to be heard. Politicians who were once required to stand before the community and defend their policies now answer no questions and instead get a photo op with everyone smiling. Political debates that were so popular are a thing of the past. We have become politically enfeebled as a community and we have only ourselves to blame.
The impact of an effective civic association can be seen in something as simple as parking regulations. Alternate side of the street parking and the street sweeping schedule are very important to keep the neighborhood clean. But can we clean the streets without harassing residents and harming local businesses? Scheduling should be at the convenience of the community, not DOS.
The reality of ineffective neighborhood advocacy was made apparent to me when a local resident took the initiative, went to the community board to express concern about the eroding beaches and the only response he got from the chair of the community board was a shrug of the shoulders and “your time is up, next speaker.”
This community needs an organization to bring individual voices together so government must address important neighborhood issues. The result will be a better community, a higher quality of life and higher property values since the community will be more desirable.
At my own expense, I have arranged for a meeting at the Knights of Columbus Hall (333 Beach 90 Street) on Wednesday, August 22, at 7 p.m. to give local residents the opportunity to come together and form a new civic association, if they so choose. If you prefer to come and just drink coffee and eat cookies, then so be it. The choice is up to you.
The first order of business will be to elect a committee to map out a plan for a new civic association. All are welcome.
I will chair this meeting of concerned neighbors until a committee is elected and then I shall pass the gavel to the newly elected committee chairman.
I hope you will participate in this grass-roots civic effort to make government responsive to the people of Rockaway Beach.
VINCE S. CASTELLANO
FORMER CHAIR, CB 14