Star of Queens: Kevin Alexander
Executive Director, Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC)
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Kevin Alexander is executive director of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC), which is working throughout the Rockaways to rebuild and improve the quality of life for the peninsula.
“You’d never expect the number of people that come out here diligently. It is amazing, but eventually will wane,” said Alexander of the efforts after Sandy.
Right now, the RDRC is doing whatever it takes to get the funding necessary to rebuild. “Through the federal government, the state and their Small Business Development Center, even the government of New York City, we will do whatever it takes to get these businesses up and running,” he said. “Right now in terms of post Sandy, we’re really concerned with the businesses that are impacted and severely damaged. Places have lost inventory and space, and there are businesses that are still not up and running. “
PERSONAL: Alexander is a native of Jamaica, Queens. He has always had interest in community and economic development. His professional interest in the Rockaways began even before working for the RDRC. “I have always had a love for the Rockaways,” he said .
With a background in public service, he enjoys working with city government. He specializes in planning, finance and contracts and has worked for places such as the Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement.
FAVORITE MEMORY: “I get the most fulfillment out of the physical revitalization, such as building park areas on 17th Street along the boardwalk,” he said. “People that are Orthodox, Caribbean, Creole or whatever all enjoy the benefits of that park. I get so much satisfaction seeing that.”
INSPIRATION: Alexander is inspired by seeing things come to fruition. “Take Arverne by the Sea,” he said. “It is a great community.
The development was offered not only to people from outside of the Rockaways, but to community members as well. “I love that people who live in the Rockaways can live in such a great project.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Post-Sandy, he said, a lot has to go into planning. “People need to be aware of occupational, health and safety [concerns], especially in debris cleanup,” Alexander said, noting he wants to create storage facilities for things such as generators and non-perishable supplies.
Alexander wants to focus on how to develop and prepare for the future. “This community will have to identify the resources necessary to move up to where we need to be,” he said. “The hardest thing now is that we were on the right track as a community in terms of becoming self sustainable. We need to create a residual economy that can withstand being isolated. The economy has to be able to recover quickly and stand on its own.”