Mayor Michael Bloomberg to skip Rockaway's St. Patrick's Day parade
BY BRENDAN BROSH
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Rockaway residents who are unhappy with Mayor Bloomberg won't get a chance to turn their backs to him at Friday's St. Patrick's Day parade.
Bloomberg, who has been a fixture in previous years, "sent regrets to the parade organizers" saying he could not make this year's festivities, according to his spokesman, John Gallagher.
Many locals have accused the mayor of ignoring their pleas for more money to expand the YMCA at the Arverne by the Sea development.
"The mayor has shown a lot of disrespect to the community," said Kevin Callaghan, one of dozens of residents who were planning to protest Bloomberg's appearance.
Some locals have been pushing to expand the $13 million project, which includes plans for a four-lane swimming pool and outdoor basketball court.
Local residents and lawmakers have been trying to raise an additional $5 million to enlarge the facility and build an eight-lane pool and indoor gym before the groundbreaking in late spring.
"I'm sorry we won't have the opportunity to turn our backs on the mayor," said Callaghan.
Gallagher did not offer a reason why Bloomberg wouldn't attend.
"We usually don't discuss scheduling matters," he said. In a written response, he added: "It's important to note that in this difficult budget climate, the administration has provided $1.5 million in funding for the Y."
The Rockaway parade, now in its 33rd year, bills itself as the second-largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the state and draws thousands of marchers and onlookers. The parade will begin at 1 p.m. on Beach 129th St. and end at 4 p.m. at Beach 92nd St.
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