Community Board 14 September Meeting Recap

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 On Tuesday, September 8, Community Board 14 (CB14) held its first meeting since June, via Zoom, with a total of 67 participants.

Chairwoman Dolores Orr kicked off the meeting. She reported that at this point in time, Queens only has a 58% response rate for the 2020 Census. Orr stressed the importance of everyone filling out the Census, because we are in danger of losing two congressional seats. In addition, the peninsula’s also in danger of losing necessary funding for numerous services. Orr then asked the Parks Committee to address issues such as the current state of our beaches and the lack of markings for bike lanes. Orr also asked them to speak with the lifeguard union regarding lifeguard staffing on specific beaches. The Parks Committee must be involved in lifeguard staffing, because it allows the community to have a say in what beaches need additional protection.

Moving on with her report, Orr addressed the peninsula’s housing issues. As developments seem to be popping up everywhere, District Manager Jonathan Gaska will be compiling a list from the Dept. of Buildings, of everyone that has requested a permit, or has been issued a permit. In addition to this, CB14 will ask City Planning to provide a complete list of everything that will be coming forward regarding zoning changes. Orr finished her report by asking the Transportation Committee to try and find more parking throughout the peninsula. She stated that it can be done because Rockaway Beach Civic did a survey of every block in their boundaries, and there have been about 125 parking spots added to this area.

Senator Joe Addabbo Jr. then spoke, stating that he has been in contact with Chancellor Carranza regarding the reopening of schools, and urged any community members who are concerned about sending their children back to school to reach out to his office. He concluded his speech advocating for the opening of indoor dining. Addabbo Jr. said, “Our positivity rate in the neighboring cities in Queens is less than Nassau County, which over the weekend was 1.1%, and we are still less than 1%.”

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato reported that the fiscal budgets do not look good for the city or state as of now, and we have to wait until we hear back from the federal government. Amato then stated that she had recently visited Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn, which is a part of Jamaica Bay. Dead Horse Bay is going to be closed for a long time because of contamination. Currently, there is no way to tell how far the contamination has spread, but they will be doing some radiation projects to see what the scope is. Eventually it will be cleaned up. Amato concluded by stating that after Hurricane Isaias and the result of many locals losing power for almost a week, she will be sponsoring a bill requesting utility companies to invest 40% of their capital budget into infrastructure.

Next, Stephanie Samoy spoke on behalf of Senator Sanders’s office. Samoy stated that their office received a list of the 2020 Tax Claim Sale at Risk Pool for Far Rockaway. They broke it down for council districts, and Senator Sanders’s district has over 1,000 folks who have tax claims and are in jeopardy of losing their property. The deadline for payments is September 24, to make whole payments, or to make a payment arrangement, and their office is hoping to reach all of these people in order for them not to lose their homes.

The first presentation was brought by Kelly McArdle from Commonpoint Queens, who specifically oversees Opportunity Youth Programs. She presented two free programs that are now available. The first program is the HSE program, which is designed to help individuals, ages 18 to 24, obtain a high school diploma. This program has the pre-HSE track, which is for individuals who need more concentration on literacy. The second track is the regular HSE track, which is a five subject track, and students will take a test at the end in order to pass. In addition to the HSE program, there is the Advanced Training Program, which is available to individuals, ages 18 to 24, who already have a high school diploma and aren’t currently employed full time or taking college courses. This program has different certifications that will help individuals become more competitive in the workforce. All of these programs are online. In addition to taking classes, this program allows for the opportunity to be set up with internships that would require individuals to work about 150 to 250 hours total, and they will be paid $15 an hour. If anyone is interested in joining any of these programs, contact McArdle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Following McArdle was Renee Hastick-Motes, who provided an update on a community health needs assessment for St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, which is fully funded by the Dept. of Health. The community health needs assessment began in August and will finish at the end of October. St. John’s has engaged with a consulting firm out of Portland, Maine to conduct the assessment. This assessment is going to help prioritize service lines to the community. The consulting firm is going to be looking at primary and secondary data and conducting focus groups, as well as reaching out to individuals, in order to see what services are currently being provided for the peninsula. It is important to note that at this point in time, this assessment is only looking at services that are currently available at the hospital. Once the assessment is completed, they will take the next step to see what additional services are needed. This assessment looks at the zip codes: 11096, 11691-11694, and 11697.

Naiomy Rodriguez from NYC Parks and Recreation, then spoke about a temporary art installment at the Seaside playground on Beach 110th and Rockaway Beach Blvd. This project will be an abstract line drawing mural, created by artist Shantell Martin. It is being sponsored and funded by the new Rockaway Hotel, which Orr praised by stating, “This is an example of what we should expect and require of every developer that comes into our neighborhood. Developers need to present something to improve the community in which they are building, and the Rockaway Hotel hopefully has led the way for others to follow through.” The installation will take place in late September, or early October, and this mural will remain for one year. Rodriguez stated that in addition to adding beauty to the playground, Martin will also be hosting two workshops with an educational message in mind for the community and children in the school.

After the informational presentations were completed, Gaska provided the Committee Report from the Budget Committee. He reported that every year, CB14 is asked to produce a capital and budget priority list. These capital items are city funded projects that would result in at least $50,000 or more. Gaska elaborated that this list consists of what we think the community needs, however, the city has no actual responsibility to fund any of these projects. He also reiterated that since they have already been told that every agency has already received budget cuts, the community should not expect anything from this list to be completed any time soon. However, it is still important to reach out to CB14 and receive the community’s input on future projects, just in case funding is granted. 

The next CB14 meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 13, and it will be scheduled to be held via Zoom until further notice.

 By Marina Cregan

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