2014-02-21 / Columnists

Who’s Who

Joanne Peterson, Arverne Civic Association
By Katie McFadden


Joanne Peterson Joanne Peterson Tell us about yourself.

I live in historic Arverne. I’ve been there for the past 25 years. I am a retired health care administrator who worked for the City of New York. I retired after 33 years. My family is from the South but I was raised here in New York City, in the Brownsville section of East New York. I transplanted from Brooklyn to the Rockaways.

Were you involved with community or civic affairs before joining the Arverne Civic Association?

I’ve been a member of the association since I moved here in 1991. I’ve always been a member of whatever groups have asked me to do whatever. I’m always lending a helping hand in activities in the community. When there was a problem with the mail, I worked with Congressman Gregory Meeks and the Postal Courtesy Committee to try to get that up and moving again.

What do you do with the Arverne Civic Association?

I meet with homeowners monthly. We listen to whatever issues homeowners have pertaining to the community. We keep them aware of what’s going on in the community and what we can do to improve issues like safety, sanitation and more.

How long do you see yourself be-ing a part of the Arverne Civic Association?

I’ve been a part of it since I’ve moved here. That’s something that, if you’re a homeowner, you should be a part of, because it helps you to upkeep your community and your home. You should always be a part of the civic association. That’s your duty as a homeowner.

Are you currently part of any other groups?

I’m currently working with the Governor’s New York Rising Rockaway East Planning Committee. We discuss all issues that are important to the community like recovery efforts and disaster awareness. This group formed as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The governor put it in place to try to recover after the storm. They sent down a group of experts, engineers and consultants to try to aid the community and help us move forward with reconstruction.

How long do you see yourself being a part of the Rockaway East Planning Committee?

When I was asked to become a part of it, they indicated that it would be from September to May 2014, but I’m not sure how long it will last at this point.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Rockaway?

The most important issue is cohesiveness among the residents. That’s important because you have to have cohesiveness among the residents in order to build a community and a neighborhood.

What’s the best part of living in the area?

I love the bay atmosphere. I loved the bay when I moved here. I love the serenity of the bay.

What’s your biggest complaint?

The separatism that exists among groups which exists because of the various groups within the community. There’s not enough cohesiveness.

I also think that community board members should serve term limits. They should not serve indefinite terms. They should serve term limits just as city council should serve. They should not be allowed to serve indefinite periods of time because at the current level, they become entrenched and corruption exists. Currently this system needs review.

What advice do you have for people who are interested in getting involved in Rockaway?

I think everyone should be a part of their tenants association or homeowners association, but wherever they are, they should be a part of some active association. They can even become involved in their church and religious organizations.

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