Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Beach) this week presented recently appointed National Grid President and Executive Director Dan Seavers with a community-drafted proposal for repurposing a manufactured gas plant (MGP) in Rockaway Park.
Prior to its descent as a derelict area in the community landscape, the Rockaway Park MGP, in operation from the 1880s to the mid-1950s, served as a successful gas production site and storage facility governed by the Long Island Lighting Company. The site subsequently went through a series of changes in ownership and in 1998 was transferred to KeySpan, a New York City-based natural gas distributor. Shortly after the site’s acquisition, it was named a DEC State Superfund Site and was added to the State’s Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites, designated as class 2 , meaning that it is considered a substantial threat to public health and/or the environment and requires remedial action to dispose of toxic waste and polluted substrate.
In 2008, National Grid assumed cleanup efforts when it purchased KeySpan, and has been working to restore the integrity of the plant site since. However, due to deteriorating bulkheads at Beach 108th Street, these efforts were suspended indefinitely. Now, with the repairs on the Jamaica Bay bulkheads nearly finished, the last phase of cleanup up at the MGP site is set to begin.
In anticipation of the site’s decontamination, Assemblyman Goldfeder conducted an online community survey last year inquiring from residents what they thought the fate of the MGP should be. Survey participants were eager to share opinions and sent in hundreds of ideas ranging from commercial development to cultural centers, which Goldfeder presented to National Grid.