Far Rockaway to get expanded health center while losing transit option

Far Rockaway to get expanded health center while losing transit option
Courtesy of GertlerWente
By Bill Parry

Elected officials and community leaders joined Denham Wolf Real Estate Services Tuesday to break-ground for the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center expansion project in Averne.

With a new 22,000-square-foot addition to its facilities, the center will double in size to further its mission of providing essential health services to medically underserved residents of the Rockaway peninsula through increased patient capacity, enhanced storm resiliency measures, and new community empowerment and development services.

“Like my father, the Addabbo Family Health Center has dedicated itself to helping others,” state Sen. Joseph Addbbo (D-Howard Beach) said. “Providing quality affordable and accessible health care to the residents of the Rockaway peninsula is critical. The Addabbo family is truly appreciative and proud of the work done by everyone at the health center and its partners. This new expansion will have a direct benefit in improving health care for the residents of Rockaway.”

The health center, located at 6200 Beach Channel Drive, lies within a federally designated Medically Underserved Area. Since its establishment in 1968, the Addabbo Family Health Center has been the largest federally qualified health center in Queens, providing holistic services to the surrounding low-income community that is disproportionately affected by poor heath outcomes. The facility offers a comprehensive range of results-driven services, including primary care for children and adults, nutrition education, domestic violence support, and HIV intervention, prevention, and treatment among many others.

“The holistic, community-based health care provided by the Addabbo Family Health Center is needed more now than ever in Far Rockaway,” Denham Wolf Real Estate Services Co-President Jonathan Denham said. “Increasing the physical capacity of this facility is crucial to expanding the care, services, and economic opportunity available to a community that has been historically underserved.”

State Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach) called on the city Economic Development Corporation to permanently reinstate the Downtown Far Rockaway Shuttle Bus to the Rockaway Ferry.

The shuttle provided transportation from the ferry terminal on Beach 108th Street to Mott Avenue, Wavecrest Gardens on Beach 20th and back to the terminal. Until Jan. 18, the EDC operated the shuttle as a pilot program that was utilized by residents living in Far Rockaway who commute to Manhattan.

“Since its inception the ferry has become an integral part of our community — not continuing the shuttle in the Far Rockaway community is ignoring the fact that the whole peninsula should have access to this service,” Pheffer Amato said. “The opportunity for transit must remain. The city needs to be looking for options to improve transportation for residents, not just tourists in the summer — it’s unfair and makes no sense.”

The EDC found that during the pilot only 3 percent of Rockaway Ferry riders used the DTFR shuttle service and an MTA bus provides the same connection and leaves much more frequently, every 10 minutes compared to a shuttle run every hour. Only 15 riders surveyed said they would not take the ferry once the shuttle trial ends. Given those findings, the EDC does not have plans to extend the pilot.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.