To The Editor:
The article entitled “Courthouse Curveball” in the August 10, 2017 issue of The Rockaway Times contained several misleading statements that warrant correction.
The original intent behind redeveloping the former Rockaway Courthouse was to address several quality of life needs for residents of the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy and the closure of Peninsula Hospital. New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) issued a Request for Expressions of Interest in 2012 to test the market for this historic site. In 2013, with support from local elected officials and the Rockaway Task Force, EDC selected The Harmony Group to provide much needed medical uses to the community and that land sale closed in 2015. The Borough Board, consisting of the local councilmember and community board chairman, unanimously supported this selection.
As the emails you cited show, after Harmony Group lost its anchor tenant, the developer proposed a number of alternate development options to EDC, one of which included a daycare. As is our standard practice, EDC consulted with key stakeholders on the local Community Board. EDC ultimately expressed to the developer that their proposed alternatives were not desirable for the project and those plans did not advance.
We hope this serves to clarify recent coverage on this project. We remain committed to activating the former Rockaway Courthouse with community-serving uses and look forward to continuing this conversation with you.
NYCEDC President and CEO
(Editor’s note: The facts as presented by The Rockaway Times in its 8/10/17 story remain clear: The Harmony Group was awarded the courthouse for $50,000 with the promise that $10 million would be spent on its renovation. That has not happened. The Harmony Group has missed deadlines and has not delivered on its promise of a medical center).
Multiple Rockaway beaches were closed "due to college kids" leaving. This happens every year! We need to find a solution. Some possible ideas: part-time lifeguards, kids sitting longer shifts (my daughter works for Parks but in a pool). She had to sit for five hours due to the same reason. I watched our guard, he did not sit more than two hours! This needs to be addressed!
Also, we need to add hours. Pools are 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. Beaches should be the same. No one in Rockaway swims at 10 but many of us swim after 6.
Storm Drain Needed
The southwest corner of Beach 115th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard has had no storm drain for the last thirty years and possibly even longer. The City of New York must surely know about this situation. If it does, then it just doesn't care and if it doesn't, then someone is just not doing his/her job. Either way, the situation is untenable and needs to be corrected. Every time it rains, the water accumulates on this corner and stays, usually for days at a time, until the sun eventually evaporates it. In the meantime, this huge puddle is not only an incubator for mosquitoes, but also creates a hazardous condition for people walking along the sidewalk by forcing them to walk out into traffic on RBB and possibly being hit. There are a number of nursing and proprietary homes in the area and the residents do not need to play Frogger just to go to the store. Something needs to be done. A storm drain needs to be installed on this corner. This needs to be taken off the back burner and put to the top of the list. At the very least, the EPA needs to fine the City for this standing water and compound the fine for every day standing water is allowed to remain in this location.
Give It A Rest
I can’t believe that Peter Mahon’s Between the Bridges column can actually find a way to bash the mayor in an article about the eclipse. Could we let this one go? Is he only focused on the most negative and hate-filled opinions that he can dredge up from the corners of his brain? This has become a sickness not just in him but for everyone who has become locked in this mentality. Isn’t there anything else happening in Broad Channel? I know it has been a struggle but I do see positive things going on there. I didn’t realize I was so “Liberal" until I started reading what this guy writes. Last week it was “Progressives.” He treated it like it was a curse word. Wasn’t it a progressive that gave us the ferry system? Wasn’t it strong unions that gave us a living wage and a strong middle class? In this part of the city we have many cops, firemen, teachers and civil servants, many who have been given a chance to live a good life brought about by people who fought for their rights.
Today these fighters would be labeled progressives or even Communist. Not everything has to be (dare I say) black and white. So now we make the eclipse a talking point of condemnation.
I just attended the Rockaway Unified candlelight vigil at Beach 94th Street. It was a beautiful event and a wonderful way to celebrate the diversity and sense of community we have here in Rockaway.
As a community we have known great loss but we also know how to come together to help one another. Tonight was a testament to unity and the love we all share regardless of our race, creed or color. The speakers at tonight's event were inspirational and their stories and experiences resonated with everyone in attendance.
Great job to the event organizers-your work is greatly appreciated! And thank you to the speakers, sharing such personal stories can be daunting but imperative in helping us remember!
Something To Consider
There was a group outside the Rockaway Park Post Office on Wednesday with a “Defend Trump” poster. They were supported (paid for) by the Lyndon Larouche PAC. I would encourage people to read up a little on Larouche and you will see that he has a controversial background to say the least. He has run for president many times as a Democrat and is a conspiracy promoter. The recent Charlottesville protests and counter protests are part of “totally controlled gangs and counter-gangs, diverting the attention of the citizenry from the economic decay of the past decade, and the financial and economic collapse rushing toward us.” That’s from the Larouche Pac website. Also, Larouche himself was convicted of mail fraud and served time in prison. Something to consider.
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