2014-04-11 / Columnists

Eye On Rockaway

Who Will Rebuild Rockaway's Boardwalk
By Miriam Rosenberg

So who is really going to rebuild Rockaway's boardwalk? Last week The Wave reported on the many jobs and contracts, or lack of jobs and contracts that will be available to residents on the peninsula during the three years of reconstruction.

There will be approximately 200 jobs available throughout the life of the project. By law only 30 percent of new hires by contractors have to be local.

Greg Clancy, who heads the project for the city, was brutally honest at an April 26 job and information session about the boardwalk.

"Not to be callous or jaded but ... some of those jobs are going to be filled by company employees that come from somewhere else," Clancy said. "Not everyone of the 200 is going to be from the Rockaways. But there will be jobs."

If my math is right that means that approximately 66 jobs will be given to Rockaway residents over the next three years.

What locals were being told at the meeting made them feel that was the same old, same old. Or in the words of composers Burt Bacharach and Hal David 'Promises Promises.' Thirty percent is the legal limit, but not enough. Councilman Donovan Richards has correctly called for 50 percent of the jobs to go to locals.

As for the contractors, the first request for contractor bids was re-opened because the city's Economic Development Corporation did not receive any bids from Rockaway contractors. Those bids are due back April 11.

About the contractors Clancy said, "If a company wants a job they've got to bid for the job. If they don't bid I'm sorry, we as city contract managers don't go knocking on doors and say, 'Would you please bid our work?' We bid it out. They bid. If they win great, we work with them. If they don't even bother to bid, what's the old saying -- you've got to be in it to win it. I'm sorry. I understand it's frustrating."

Perhaps the city reps don't realize how frustrating it is. Residents and businesses are still trying to get back on their feet. This was not your typical put out a bid, hope for responses project.

Extra effort was needed by the city in this.

Community Board 14 or the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation could have been helpful to get the names of local companies to the city. In turn they could have been made aware of the project and the bidding procedure. Winning a project like this could go a long way to helping a local company get back on its feet.

Forty more contracts will be up for bid during the next three years. For companies to "be in it to win it" they need to know about it. The city must use all resources available to get the word out locally. That not only includes The Wave and the Daily News, but also CB 14, RDRC, and other local organizations. Preference needs to be given to local workers and businesses. If finances are the way the city will select contractors, then of course the larger outside companies will win.

Otherwise it will just be more of Promises, Promises.

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