A Voice On The Shore: Katz Has Put a Focus On Storm-Ravaged Rockaway

BY JON CRONIN
Staff Writer

Since coming into office Melinda Katz has been a great advocate of the Rockaways, the borough’s only beach front property.

As a way to aid in the accelerated re-growth after Hurricane Sandy, Katz quickly created a Hurricane Task Force soon after taking the executive position.

Katz on the Rockaway Boardwalk with Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Councilman Eric Ulrich. File Photo

Katz on the Rockaway Boardwalk with Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Councilman Eric Ulrich.
File Photo

Katz’s office has noted that post-Sandy development and recovery “is going slowly but surely.”

A statement from her office read, “The entire boardwalk replacement and rehabilitation project is on track for completion by Memorial Day 2017. New York Rising projects are starting to take shape and will add an extra level of resiliency and improvements to the community.”

This past May, Katz supported a text amendment that lifted restrictions on the city’s zoning to expedite the elevation of homes and their reconstruction.

She noted in a press release, “This is a vital text amendment that will finally relieve the red tape that had burdened entire neighborhoods and prevented thousands of homes from fully rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.”

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) touted Katz’s involvement in the moments after Sandy and since.

“In the hours that followed Sandy’s destruction, as a representative of thousands of victims, when I was looking for help there was our Borough President, Melinda Katz. Not only did she personally walk with me to speak to the suffering residents, but Melinda was instrumental in assisting me with bringing resources such as food and the Red Cross supplies to the district. Even today, Melinda would ask me how my constituents are doing with their recovery and how can she be of further assistance,” he said.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Beach) had this to say about Katz’s work in the Rockaways: “Queens has no greater champion than Melinda Katz. In the three years since Sandy, the Borough President has worked tirelessly to help our families grow stronger than ever before. Her monthly Sandy Task Force meetings have cut needless red tape and made government accountable to the people. At the same time, her focus on growing the local economy has bolstered our long-term recovery and made the borough a world-class destination.”

After a complete overhaul last year by the de Blasio administration, Build-It-Back has reimbursed 2000 households, started construction on 677 projects, completed 677 and given out over $43.6 million in reimbursements in Queens by early October of this year.

By this past fall, city-wide, Build It Back had 1,691 construction starts. There were 4,477 checks sent out amounting to $85.8 million, compared to zero at the beginning of 2014.  By the end of September the program boasted 1,042 projects completed. They claimed, “over 50 percent of active homeowners have now been served.”

Also coming to the Rockaways is a ferry service to Manhattan. A Katz spokesperson said, “Once in operation in 2017 as part of the citywide ferry system, it will bring about more tourism to the area, allow for better access, and create greater incentives for investment in the Rockaways.”

Katz recently announced that she believed Select Bus Service should be implemented on Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, a service that would aid in faster bus service for the 30,000 people it serves along those corridors and in the Rockaways.

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