At the upcoming Community Board meeting on Tuesday, the Parks Department is supposed to reveal its final boardwalk plans for community approval. We hope they produce a timeline that is speedy and acceptable. Liam Kavanagh is the Acting Commissioner of Parks. Veronica White stepped down when the de Blasio administration took over. As Deputy Commissioner, Kavanagh is the one who notoriously said the boardwalk might take “four years” to complete. That caused an uproar.
The Parks Department and its partner on the project, the Economic Development Corporation, quickly backed off Kavanagh’s forecast. Although they didn’t reveal a completion date they did produce a work schedule that indicated the work would be done sooner.
Now with Kavanagh at the top, we hope he appreciates the urgency in the boardwalk rebuild. “Four years” and a shrug won’t cut it. He should know that. And while Kavanagh has been a perfect gentleman through some turbulent meetings, the truth is, a lot of the grief he brought upon himself. It’s now time to show he’s got leadership chops and can get the damn boardwalk built.
Veronica White will be missed. She was here early and often. She was not a photo-op, public relations driven commissioner, however. White got the job just a few months before Sandy and then faced challenges no other Parks commissioner had ever faced. Rockaway had to be rebuilt and 1700 other parks had to be managed. Government being government, she had to work with City Hall, FEMA, the Army Corps. The EDC, the DDC, the DEC, and other players in the Rockaway rebuild. Her tenure was a bureaucratic and logistical balancing act that went unappreciated.
Parks is the out-front agency so we get to yell at them. That’s the way it is. But we saw evidence that Veronica White worked hard and cared. So, we can yell and shout, but sometimes we have to say, thanks. And that, we do.
Now Liam, get to work.