While city and federal officials gathered at Riis Landing in the Rockaways on Monday to announce the creation of a new institute at Jamaica Bay, they also announced the formation of a conservancy to fund maintenance and programs at the parkland around the bay as well as Rockaway Beach.
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy is a public-private partnership established by the city and federal government and the Rockefeller Foundation and is similar to conservancies for Central Park and Prospect Park.
Mayor Bloomberg said the conservancy will help raise funds for the parkland covered by a 2011 agreement between the city and federal government, which includes areas managed by Gateway National Recreation Area such as Charles Park, Hamilton Park and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
“The organization will help raise funds for the parkland covered by the agreement, collaborate with the community on programming and help promote the parkland as a destination,” said Mayor Bloomberg at the announcement of the conservancy’s creation Monday.
The conservancy will also include Rockaway Beach, Parks Commissioner Veronica White confirmed Monday.
Tom Secunda, one of the founders of Bloomberg LP, will lead the conservancy, whose board will include former Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who now works at The Trust for Public Land.
Dan Mundy Jr. of Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers said the conservancy will reinvigorate the bay.
“We see an opportunity here,” he said. “A park that has phenomenal natural resources and doesn’t have funding will now have a foundation.”
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who oversees the federal department that manages much of Jamaica Bay, encouraged New Yorkers Monday to help the conservancy’s mission.
“Having this green space around New York is rare,” she said. “So treasure it.”