Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D/I/WF–Far Rockaway) announced the Gateway National Recreation Area will receive much-needed improvements due to an agreement made by city, state and federal officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
“After decades of community efforts, the water quality at Jamaica Bay and the overall quality of the parkland around it will be improved,” Goldfeder said. “I’ve worked on this issue for years and spearheaded a task force to address the lack of public access to Floyd Bennett Field and Jacob Riis Park, both part of Gateway. It’s great that the community’s voice has finally been heard and the park will get the restorative attention it deserves.”
The plan calls for city and federal officials and departments to work together to streamline management of the park, namely to operate the park as a single urban park and not as the separate city and federal lands it has previously been recognized as. As one entity, the park will benefit from coordinated research and restoration planning to better conserve the health of Jamaica Bay. Additionally, the infrastructure of the park will be improved to allow easier access by visitors, regardless of their mode of transportation – car, bus or train – and to highlight the new transportation options through media. Lastly, boat sewage will no longer be permitted to be disposed of in Jamaica Bay.
“By cleaning up our waters, increasing public access and working together with local and federal departments, these improvements to Gateway will help the park thrive as the only national park in New York City and help boost tourism in our region,” Goldfeder said. “I support initiatives like this that aim to streamline government efficiency, protect our natural resources and make good business sense for our community.”