Lame Parks Dept rendering of Cedar Grove's future
From the NY Post:
This is a real-estate story that bears not a lick of sanity. Because after midnight Sept. 30, city honchos -- made to look foolish by a renegade posse of mainly elderly homesteaders laying claim to a bucolic stretch of beach --are fighting back.
They're destroying Cedar Grove Beach Club, an immaculate summer village plunked in the distant borough a century ago. Once, little Cedar Groves dotted the city from Brooklyn to The Bronx, offering respite to overheated city dwellers. Now, it's the last of its kind.
But, given the chance by the state to landmark the historic site, which costs taxpayers nothing to run, officials chose to bulldoze it. Now residents fear, with good reason, that their beloved beach will wind up an abandoned, city-controlled condom and needle depository, like so many others.
Why so stubborn?
A century ago, land on Staten Island was cheap and no one cared about the boroughs. Cedar Grove began with tents. Cottages followed. By the 1940s, more than 200 houses dotted the 307-acre parcel, plus a community center and even a summer camp. Six generations played here from June to October, trudging back to other parts of the city come winter.
But in 1962, the houses were seized via eminent domain for a Robert Moses-planned highway. When the road never materialized, Islanders were offered a deal: Rent the property from the city, or get lost. This arrangement worked well for 48 years.
The city has put aside $1.9 million to fix up Cedar Grove -- money, ironically, from the rent paid by Grovians. It's not enough, officials admit, to get through even one summer.
Face it. Government just can't run things more efficiently than private citizens. In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg sold 11 East Village townhouses -- worth millions -- for $1 apiece to squatters living in them illegally. I propose the city make the same offer at Cedar Grove.
Better yet, build a mosque on the property. That will make it untouchable.
From the Village Voice:
Parks announces that it will be opposing all efforts (namely, that of local public officials, historians, and the members of the beach club) to give the beach club a designation on the national registry.
How are they going to pay for all this loveliness? As we reported, the Parks Department says it is going to use $1.8 million collected from fees from the residents. Phase III, which appears to include the greenway construction as well as "picnic grounds" and "pedestrian pathways," Parks admits, is still "unfunded."
From SI Live:
There is no funding in place for the remaining work, a cause for concern among elected officials who for weeks have been pressing Parks on its ability to finance such a project while other beaches and parks languish across the borough and as the city continues to tighten its belt.
Parks' budget was slashed by 11 percent this year -- and Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week ordered his commissioners to trim $800 million from the current $63 billion city budget and an additional $1.2 billion next year to avoid layoffs.
"It's a typical rope-a-dope by the Parks Department," said Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore), whose district houses Cedar Grove. "They're going to get in there with their $1.8 million, knock the bungalows down and then walk away and we will never see the real plan implemented."
Yup. You can count on that. It's also interesting that Parks has been telling other communities they have to have all the funding in place for a new park project before they can proceed, yet here they are making an exception.