By Howard Koplowitz
The city selected a Far Rockaway nonprofit last week to redevelop a 78âˆ’yearâˆ’old former firehouse and the surrounding property to make way for the group’s new headquarters, which will house afterâˆ’school programs and train residents for green jobs.
The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, which operates youth and community programs, will invest about $2 million to create the Rockaway Institute for Sustainable Environment, the city Economic Development Corp. said.
“I am pleased that the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, which is dedicated to raising public awareness of environmental issues, has been selected to redevelop this unique site,” EDC President Seth Pinsky said in a statement. “RWA not only provides valuable programs for its community, but its activities are also strongly aligned with the goals of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC to create a more sustainable New York.”
The former firehouse, at 58âˆ’03 Rockaway Beach Blvd., will be transformed into a space for projects and events, a catering hall, an organic cafe and rooms for afterâˆ’school and job programs, according to the EDC.
The exterior of the firehouse will be preserved to maintain its existing charm, the corporation said.
Jean DuPont, the RWA executive director, could not be reached for comment.
In a statement, she said the redevelopment project “marks a big step forward for the Rockaway community as we plan to partner with many communityâˆ’based organizations and individuals throughout the redevelopment stage of the firehouse.”
The organization currently has only four staff members and operates out of local schools and community spaces, according to the EDC.
The redevelopment project will allow the RWA to serve an additional 10,000 clients a year and hire more staff, the city said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by eâˆ’mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718âˆ’229âˆ’0300, Ext. 173.