Members of the Fresh Creek Civic Association (FCCA) held a virtual meeting on Saturday afternoon, January 28th to discuss a number of issues, many of which pertained to their primary mission of improving storm resiliency in the neighborhood. After being hit particularly hard by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and discovering how vastly unprepared the government was to respond to such a weather emergency, members of the group took it upon themselves to advocate for change. Even after a decade of hard work, the group’s efforts are far from over.
FCCA President Maria Garrett said that she and other members of the group had attended a variety of meetings and listening sessions related to improving flood mitigation over the past few months and agreed that more needs to be done in the Fresh Creek area. She explained that there is an abundance of funding being allocated to coastal protection on both the Federal and State levels and how imperative it is that the community be involved in deciding how that money should be spent to ensure the neighborhood is not passed over.
After doing her own research, Garrett said that simply building structures like retaining walls may not be not enough to solve the issue of flooding entirely, as they can impede water recession in some areas. She discussed the benefits of an erosion prevention technique called riprap, which is rock wall installed at the shoreline, further fortified by plants and vegetation, and said she is trying to find out what a project like that would cost. Assemblywoman Nikki Lucas, who was in attendance, pledged to work with the civic to request funding for an environmental study of the area to find out exactly what could be done to improve the situation.
There was also discussion of the expansion of the Canarsie Library, located at 1580 Rockaway Parkway, which serves an extensive number of students from the neighborhood, especially those who attend the Canarsie Educational Campus. A member explained that after conducting a building study, it was determined that the structure could not hold an additional floor, and would be demolished, so that an entirely new, taller building could be erected in its place.
Another member said that she and her neighbors would love to see the B103 Express Bus route extended farther to serve residents on East 108th Street, who have some long blocks to walk if they disembark at the last stop. She also explained that those living in the Fresh Creek area, who rely on public transportation, have difficulty reaching the Gateway Center shopping area and would greatly benefit if the B103 had a stop there as well. A member offered to do a walk-through or drive-by with Lucas, so she could get a visual of the situation, to which she was receptive.
Also discussed were concerns about the proliferation of smoke shops in the neighborhood and how the oversaturation may have a negative impact upon the younger generation. Lucas said that her staff would look into it and prepare a report that they could bring back to the civic. She said that members should keep in mind, however, that these new shops provide economic opportunity and create jobs for local residents and that they must understand that Cannabis is a real and growing industry for which there is a great demand.
The next meeting of the FCCA will be held on Saturday afternoon, February 25th.