2013-04-12 / Columnists

Eye On Rockaway

City Needs To Communicate With The Rockaways
by Miriam Rosenberg

Apparently former congressman Anthony Weiner is considering a run for mayor. He was an effective congressman and with all he has done for Rockaway over the years, this column says that he should go for it!

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It seems that Rockaway residents are the last to know about things that affect them. The most recent example of this occurred last week when the Rockaway community was kept in the dark until the last minute about the 24 hour, seven day a week work to repair the beaches and boardwalks – work that has the potential to leave locals sleepless in Rockaway.

There was no consultation with area residents and no advance warning until the day before the work was scheduled to begin. That is when Delores Orr, the chair for Community Board 14 and its district manager Jonathan Gaska attended a meeting at Borough Hall on April 3.

“They only gave us information when we brought it up,” Gaska said on Tuesday. And why did they bring it up? Because, even though the work was to begin on the 4th, according to Orr, work began on the 1st.

Essentially Parks gave itself, or as Gaska said, its contractor, a 24/7 permit. Something which he said, “I never heard of.”

While it may be of little comfort, Rockaway residents are not alone in this. Like here, piles are being driven in on a 24/7 schedule to support new lifeguard and comfort stations torn apart by Sandy in Brighton Beach and Coney Island. Residents of those areas have told news outlets of being unable to sleep at night due to “constant banging deep into the ground.”

The city is committed to reopening Queens’ beaches by Memorial Day. An advisory dated April 4 says, “To accomplish this goal in such a short time, we need to perform pile driving and other noisy construction 24 hours a day, for a few days, at several locations along the beach.”

“We will do everything we can to adhere to the schedule …and do our best to limit the extent of the noisy work.”

Glenn DiResto, who lives at Arverne By The Sea told the Daily News, “It’s distracting for the homeowners, especially when it’s going on after hours. We understand the need to repair the boardwalk but maybe the work should stop after 11 p.m.”

Gaska suggested limiting the hours from Sunday to Thursday because, “People have to go to work.” It was an idea that did not fly with the city.

Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers here. Why wasn’t this construction started at an earlier date? Why weren’t the people who live in the areas consulted? Why did Orr and Gaska have to ask about the work before any information was given? How will updates be provided?

Rockawayites are tired and worn out from the last few months. Being kept up at night by construction machines is the last thing they need. Communication and inclusion is needed between the city and Rockaway for what is sure to be a long rebuilding period. Residents need to know that the city is working for, and with them. It would be sad to see that the assurances by city representatives during the last few months to work with local residents and have their suggestions and ideas taken into account when decisions are made were just empty promises.

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