Yesterday evening, I attended the second of two Blue Ribbon Panel Meetings that were convened by Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Anthony Weiner. The Panel, is an effort to bring together community, city, state and federal parties to partner in reviewing and sharing ideas on what we would like to see happen with Floyd Bennett Field, as National Park Service prepares their new General Management Plan for Gateway National Recreation Area.
|Queens Borough Deputy President, Barry Grodenchik speaking to the audience.|
The meeting was kicked off by Queens Borough Deputy President, Barry Grodenchik, who unlike Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, did not mention things like, "Drive in movie theaters", but instead had a more cautious approach. Mr. Grodenchik urged the groups to lay out their concerns and told us that it was going to be an open process (we shall see).
|My group - Dan Mundy, Dave Berg, Don Riepe, Sharon Seitz, and Alexandra Karnik|
There was a lot of information to go around in yesterday’s meeting and I need to take some time to digest and gather my thoughts to formulate my opinions on these developments. However, I will say that for the most part the discussions were cordial with the exception of the journalist from the Rockaway Wave who kept on harping about a "battle" that no one in the room seemed to be privy of...at least we hope there is none.
|Dan Mundy, Dave Berg, Don Riepe, Sharon Seitz, Alexandra Karnik and Jacqueline|
Despite the poor attendance by the birding community (birders who attended the meeting in Brooklyn gets a pass), there was adequate representation, by a few of us, who repeated quite vocally our positions that saving the grasslands and keeping any development to a minimum, was of the utmost importance.
The image immediately above, is a blown up map of Floyd Bennett Field and one that we worked with during last night's discussions. At our table, we drew some demarcations on the map to indicate the grassland areas that should not be touched along with possible areas that could be further enhanced for wildlife. I photographed this map and edited the image adding paw prints to indicate which areas should be considered "untouchable". In addition, I also added hand prints to indicate areas that some of us would like to "get our hands on" for wildlife restoration. Thoughts of creeks and a wetland area in the location where the NYPD and Sanitation departments are currently using. This would mean that the NYPD and Sanitation would have to be relocated.
We have lots of ideas and work to do, which requires engagement; we cannot be on the sidelines talking without actively participating. If I had my way, I would wish for some sort of committee on the grassroots level that could work closely with the "planners" so that we don't have folks who have never set foot in FBF at places like, "Dead Horse Bay", or the "North Forty Trail" making plans for Floyd Bennett Field. Two people, who I would strongly support for this level of participation would be Ron and Jean Bourque. I have said enough for now - more to come.
Tags: Floyd Bennett Field, Conservation, Grasslands, Restoration