Participatory Vote On The Neponsit Home
It’s a tough balancing act when decisions might have more impact on some than others.
Do people who live right next door have more say than someone who lives two blocks away? Does someone two blocks away have more say than someone 10 blocks away? And so on. It’s not so simple. People move and people die, so it’s worth asking if decisions by a few should hamstring an entire neighborhood forever.
We are certain that some people like the Neponsit Home just the way it is. They know it’s ugly and crumbling; they know it’s expensive to maintain but it’s the devil they know. They’d rather just keep the status quo, afraid of what change might bring.
A couple of our elected officials, Eric Ulrich and Phil Goldfeder (where was Joe Addabbo?) took a tour of the place with the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) officials who likely want the financially draining facility off their books. Now there’s talk of getting extensive community input.
Interestingly, Goldfeder is pushing for the reactivation of the Rockaway branch line on the mainland. Such a thing would be a huge boost to Queens transportation. It so happens, the long abandoned rail line runs through the backyards of some homes and right next to others. There is a right-of-way in place. Those people have no interest in reviving the line. Should they have the only say?
They knew of the right-of-way or should have. They cannot stand in way of the line. Likewise, the Neponsit Home has been sitting there, always with the potential that it might be developed. People in its vicinity should be heard but not necessarily have the final say.
The community at large should have a say. Ideas should be sought from the community and then a wide range of those ideas be presented for a vote.
Recent participatory budget voting is a good example of how the public has a real and direct way in spending. The same tactic could be applied here. Let the people actually vote.
New homes? A boutique rehab center for Wounded Warriors? An art museum and residence? A good assisted living space? Parkland? A hotel with catering? An urgent care center? A resilience center?
Our vote is to do something. There’s a Rockaway renaissance going on, that place needs a rebirth. BY ELGIN BOLLING