2013-11-29 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

The Boardwalk Cannot Wait
By Hank Iori

The Parks Department and their contracted vendor CH2M Hill put together what at best could be considered a lackluster presentation to the Board 14 Parks and Recreation committee recently. The color and surface textures of the concrete boardwalk were limited. Benches presented consisted of two types, light fixtures four types. The Parks and CH2M Hill need to do better.

The community should not be rushed into approving things without a clear and comprehensive plan spelled out for the boardwalk. We keep getting bits and pieces. In the end we may find ourselves in the same position as last January when asked to accept the temporary islands and bathrooms created for last summer. They are now permanent. The islands are below current elevations and the bathrooms are problematic eye sores dotting the shore front. Decisions made now in a piecemeal manner may be problematic as we move forward.

We need to see designs that show us how entry to the boardwalk from the north side will be accomplished based on revised elevation figures. The specifics on the walkways, steps and ramps need to be included in their designs. The height, width, materials used, etc. all need to be spelled out. Location and types of drinking fountains, showers and foot washers need to be shown on plans.

Several months ago when the Parks Department introduced their selected contracting firm for the boardwalk, CH2M Hill, Jonathan Goldstick, VP l was introduced to our community. I suggested to both Mr. Goldstick and the Deputy Commissioner of Parks, Liam Kavanagh, that the company should place a field team of architects and engineers in an office in the Rockaways. They would work on plans for the boardwalk and shore-front area and update the community regularly. The community needs to feel a closer partnership in the development of the plans for the boardwalk and waterfront areas along 126th Street to 149th Street. They both agreed it was a good idea but never followed through on the suggestion.

Asking the communities’ approval of partial portions of a plan without having a clear understanding of what the completed project will look like just doesn’t cut it.

The time frame for the completion of the full boardwalk needs to be set for June 1, 2015. The Army Corp of Engineers will complete the sand replenishment by June 2014. Once the designs are complete for the boardwalk the elevation of the structural members, the wall under the boardwalk and sand placement can begin by February 2014 and be completed by June 2014. Cement slabs can be placed on the sections of the boardwalk scheduled to be completed by Parks by June 2014. At the same time the remaining sections can be worked on with the completing date of June 1st, 2015 for the entire boardwalk. This can be done - No excuses accepted!

Hank Iori is A Community Board 14 member and President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association.

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