Pol Looks For Post-Sandy Revitalization
The National Park Service (NPS) is making its way down to the Rockaways, with hopes and plans of revitalizing several federal properties.
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo met last week with NPS Commissioner Joshua Laird and Superintendent Jennifer Nersesian regarding upcoming local projects and partnerships National Parks are establishing within the city.
“National Park Service has in the past neglected our area. Now, they want to shed the misconception that they don’t care,” Addabbo said. “They are acknowledging the sentiment amongst the community has been negative, and they want to move forward in a positive way.”
The senator and Laird discussed NPS work identifying safety hazards along Tilden Beach, which will be rectified and the beach will open this summer. Laird said after Sandy, when the sand washed away, remnants of old bulkheads, exposed structures and other safety concerns surfaced.
Now, NPS wants to correct the issues and open the area in time for the warm weather. They are additionally looking at what more can be done at Fort Tilden, beyond opening the beach.
Laird additionally acknowledged concerns over the bulkhead along Beach Channel Drive near Marine Park Bridge, and said that because the damage pre-dates Hurricane Sandy, NPS has been prevented from using any storm recovery funds for repairs. However, they are able to take some of that money to do a full assessment of the bulkhead to show exactly what needs to be fixed and how much it will cost.
NPS also responded to Addabbo’s and the community’s requests to repair the fallen, Sandy-damaged fence along the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge in Howard Beach. With help from the city Department of Sanitation, Laird expects the fence to be removed by the end of the first week of April. The need for a replacement fence has yet to be determined.
Addabbo and Laird discussed several other initiatives, including plans and the future vision for Jamaica Bay and its surrounding parklands, including Frank Charles Park.
“We’ve acknowledged the concern the community has had with the management and use of Charles Park, and our commitment is to work with them and to bring some greater focus to the park,” Laird said.
NPS is also working on establishing partnerships with other park agencies, including the New York City Department of Parks.
Also upcoming in the area is construction for the Spring Creek Hazard Mitigation Project, a federally-funded endeavor. The NPS will “do everything we need to do to make sure we can be responsive and supportive as the planning, design and eventually the implementation happens,” Laird said.
“We’re very interested in what desires the community has in terms of the resilient side of things and public access,” he said.
Addabbo hopes to capitalize on the NPS refreshing new attention it intends to take on federal properties that were neglected in the past.
“By working with the NPS, I am optimistic that the community will benefit from their efforts,” he said.