CB 14 Monthly Meeting Recap

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 Community Board 14 held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 10, at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90th Street.

The featured speakers were District 31 Council Member Donovan Richards Jr. and District 32 Council Member Eric Ulrich.

CM Richards covered a number of items including the upcoming $30M project to upgrade Rockaway Beach Blvd between the YMCA and the Hammel Houses, the $1M expansion of the Addabbo Health Center, the $1M project on B53/54 Street for new storefronts, the opening of the La Quinta hotel on B44 Street that will employ 17 Rockaway residents, the Goldie Maple Playground that will open in a few days, the Far Rockaway Library project being on schedule, an upcoming Gun Buyback program at the Macedonia Baptist Church on June 25, and an update on the Downtown Far Rockaway project that is a $200M investment in the community.

CM Ulrich spoke about the May 23 meeting with the local elected officials and city agencies (MTA, DOT, Parks, etc.) which is a preemptive attempt to avoid last summer’s traffic fiasco at the Cross Bay Bridge. He mentioned that the MTA is trying to move to all cashless lanes, but issues still need to be addressed. Ulrich opposed the recently approved City Council Plastic Bag vote because he thought it would be unfair to charge New Yorkers more money to shop in an already expensive city. His last topic was the recently passed Veteran’s Bill where the $5M budget will employee 35 (who are mostly Veterans) and provide better services to the 235,000 Veterans living in NYC. Ulrich responded to a question from a CB14 Council member asking if this program applies to Veterans who are in nursing homes or homebound. He stated that the program will send people to their locations and to call his office if you know of anyone in that situation.

Nineteen people signed up for the Public Speaking portion of the meeting. Opinions were voiced about issues such as beach access this summer in Rockaway Park, smoke-free housing resolution, the SJEH PAM Project survey, local residents getting concessions on the beach, more time to explore mosquitoes and the impact of the Zika virus. A number of speakers expressed their concerns about the parking situation in downtown Far Rockaway, i.e. new stores and a library will be built, however there will not be ample parking for residents to frequent them.

This month’s guest presentation was by City Clerk, Michael McSweeney, regarding the Lobbying Bureau Amnesty Program which was for anyone who has exceeded the $5000 threshold for lobbying a NYC official and has not registered or filed reports. More information can be found at www.cityclerk.nyc.gov.

Chairperson Dolores Orr announced some good news regarding the NYC Parks Department. In addition to the 40 seasonal workers slotted for the entire peninsula, 55 more will be added this season for a total of 95. Instead of sharing a PEP (Parks Enforcement Patrol) officer, Rockaway will be getting their own, who happens to be a resident. FEMA will be paying to replace 600 Sandy-damaged benches, which does not include portions of the boardwalk that were intact after the storm.

District Manager, Jonathan Gaska, stated that a more interactive CB14 website is still on target for July. He expects the new 100th Precinct CO, Captain Janice L. Holmes, to attend the next month’s meeting. Also on that agenda is the Department of Health to talk about the Zika virus (i.e. salt marsh mosquitoes aren’t carriers) and scheduled mosquito spraying.

CB Board also voted in favor of a three-block buffer zone for beach vendors not to compete with the merchants on B116.

The next Monthly Board Meeting is on June 14 at 7:15 PM. Agenda and location are to be determined.  This is the last meeting until September 13.

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