Local pol calls for repairs at popular Rockaway destinations

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is asking the federal government to put up funds to repair Riis Park and West Pond.
Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder’s office

After sustaining significant damage from Hurricane Sandy, Riis Park and West Pond — popular facilities in the National Park Service’s (NPS) Gateway National Recreation Area — still require major repairs.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is now asking the federal government to fund the repairs. Goldfeder wrote a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell urging the Department of the Interior (DOI) to provide money for the repairs to the bathhouse at Riis Park, as well as funds for the full restoration of West Pond.

“Every year, millions of families come to enjoy New York’s best urban beaches at Riis Park and the tranquil trails at West Pond,” Goldfeder said. “Sadly, the devastation from Sandy has tarnished these once-proud sites. We must provide the resources to restore these true gems to ensure that they will be preserved and protected for future generations to enjoy.”

Sandy’s tidal surges pushed through the bathhouse floor, police building and lifeguard station at the aging facilities. The parking lot also sustained damage from its use as a temporary debris storage site for the surrounding communities.

Goldfeder has been working to advocate for improvements to Gateway. Last month he secured the installation of temporary lighting around the Riis Park bathhouse to accommodate restaurant patrons at the popular Riis Park Beach Bazaar.

In October Goldfeder declared his support for the proposed Alternative B plan to restore West Pond. The plan, which is favored by NPS and the Broad Channel Civic Association, calls for a two-phase restoration program to be completed by 2017.

Phase 1 would restore the damaged pond perimeter loop trail and shoreline, costing between $1.7 and $2.5 million. Phase 2 would repair Terrapin Point to the west of the pond and add new visitor amenities at a cost of between $5.1 and $6.2 million. However, funding for Phase 2 has yet to be committed by the federal government.

“Gateway has been a valuable community park for generations,” Goldfeder said. “Repairing this damage will bring us one step closer to full recovery from Sandy.”