Santa came to the Rockaway peninsula early this year with a big bag full of money for Rockaway Recovery and Rockaway Resilience! The money in Santa's bag is what is left over from the extra 200 million dollars given to Rockaway by way of NYC to rebuild the Rockaway boardwalk after it was obliterated during Superstorm Sandy.
To refresh your memories, the City of New York asked FEMA (Federal Office of Emergency Management) for 280 million dollars to rebuild the Rockaway boardwalk and FEMA sent along an extra 200 million to be used as part of FEMA's '428' program.
The projects eligible in the 428 program are Raised shoreline work, Parks and Recreational Facilities, buildings, Elevation and Structures and Engineered and Natural structures. What is not covered in the FEMA 428 program is New Trees, Plantings, Lawns, Buyouts, and of course Studies.
There are some really great projects that address resilience and some that address recovery.
There are nine projects in consideration on the peninsula and these projects are the result of years of meetings with local civic associations and community outreach by NYC Parks, Rockaway Parks Conceptual Plan and Housing Preservation and Development's Resilient Edgemere Initiative.
The potential projects being considered are: Renovate Bayswater Park, Raise Shorelines in Edgemere on Jamaica Bay, Renovate Rockaway Community Park, create a new waterfront park at Thursby Basin in Arverne on Jamaica Bay, Reconstruct NYC Parks operations facility at Beach 73rd Street, Create a new waterfront park on the bay at Beach 88th Street, Beach 94th-95th Corridor as a Gateway to The Rockaways, Rebuild Shore Front Parkway Recreation zone and new comfort stations at Beach 59th St and Beach 116th Street.
To do all these projects the City would have to spend between 250 and 350 million dollars. Although Parks and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency has asked the communities on the peninsula what our priorities are for these projects, it has been made quite clear that all the projects will not be funded 100 percent.
It's my opinion that the projects which have the greatest component of recovery should have the highest degree of funding priority. The only project in consideration with a recovery and recreation component is the Shore Front Parkway Recreation Zone, as this is the only project being considered that existed prior to Hurricane Sandy and was totally wiped away by the storm. This is not to say that only Shore Front Parkway should receive funds. All should receive a good amount to get them started.
A big Rockaway Beach Thank You to NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Rockaway Parks Administrator Portia Dyrenforth and Dan Zarrilli, Senior Director of the Office of Recovery and Resilience for keeping an eye on this wonderful gift which was given to the Rockaway peninsula!
I think Santa's gonna need a bigger sleigh...