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Community not yet recovered as Coney Island opens for season

Amity Paye AmNews Web Manager | 3/28/2013, 11:35 a.m.
Community not yet recovered as Coney Island opens for season

Stressing the importance of taking care of the children, Stuart also said that the community centers, which served the neighborhood's youth but have been closed due to damages from Hurricane Sandy, do not have concrete re-opening plans. Some community members were told that Heartshare Human Services of NY recreation center, for example, would re-open in September, but Stuart was recently told that it was only the bidding for which reconstruction company will do the work, which would be completed by September. The reconstruction would only then start after that.

"The young people don't have anywhere to go," said Stuart. "Prior to Sandy, we had very little, to say the least--but now we have almost nothing at all."

So community members rallied across from Luna Park, carrying signs reading "People live here" and "Coney Island is not back" and displaying photos of community centers, senior centers, homes and schools still reeling from the flooding, mold and other damages sustained by Hurricane Sandy. They caught up on local news and asked about each other's children, but also spoke of a youth shooting that had happened earlier in the week, pointing to the lack of community centers and schools as a possible cause.

"There are two places they are living in, yesterday and next year. What about right here, right now? They are behaving as though this is a budgeted planned event. It is not. It is called crisis intervention," said Dayna Monroe, a resident of Coney Island since 1974 who began working with the People's Coalition of Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy. Monroe mentioned the senior citizens who are still not getting a lot of heat and hot water, the air quality and trash disposal issues that have been unattended to and the emotional impact on the many children displaced from their homes and schools as just some of this issues her community is now facing.

But Monroe also explained, "We're not trying to place ourselves as a bunch of victims in need of some social program saving; we're just asking to put the building there. We'll manage the rest. We're dedicated, we're smart; we have the agency to do it."