Tag Archives: roger gendron

Star of Queens: Roger Gendron, president, Hamilton Beach Civic Association


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Roger Gendron

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

BACKGROUND: Roger Gendron was born and raised in Hamilton Beach. He continues to live there with his wife Holly and two sons — Christopher, 20, and Matthew, 16. He likes living in Hamilton Beach because he feels it is like a small town in a big city, where everybody knows everybody else and they watch out for each other. Gendron, 52, is a Local 3 electrician and shop steward at the Resorts World Casino.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Gendron was a member of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association for five years before he became president in February 2012. In the early days of his presidency, he dealt with issues such as poor street conditions, broken sidewalks and people hanging out at street corners, which were “easily rectified.”

The dynamics of his presidency changed dramatically when Hurricane Sandy hit the neighborhood that October. The association members, and the community as a whole, banded together to help each other out. The effects of the devastation are felt even today. Gendron spends most of his time serving as a liaison between his community and the city’s elected officials and agencies. The association has helped get a playground repaired at Hamilton Beach Park and a boardwalk reconstructed. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, new residents have moved into the neighborhood and the association tries to make them feel welcome in the community by inviting them to meetings and circulating a newsletter.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “There is no single achievement, but I have been able to become the voice of Hamilton Beach,” said Gendron. “Earlier, we were the forgotten stepchild of Howard Beach. One of the things I had promised was that Hamilton Beach will get recognition as a separate entity. We are there, in a way. Some good has come out of Sandy.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “My biggest challenge has been dealing with the bureaucracy of New York City,” said Gendron. “If you call one person about an issue to get an answer, they’ll promise to get back. One week later when you haven’t heard from them and call them again, they’ll say, ‘Oh, that person is on vacation.’ It is frustrating. We are blessed to have strong allies in our elected officials and all of them work well together and with us.”

INSPIRATION: “There is no one person. I’ve always found myself to be a helpful person, I’ll help anybody with anything. That’s the way I was raised. My work in this position helps more than one person, it helps the neighborhood. My mom would be proud of me.”

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Hamilton Beach boardwalk officially opened


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The final stone has been set, and the brand-new Hamilton Beach “boardwalk” has opened.

The 2,000-foot-long cement walkway now provides access for Hamilton Beach residents to travel a direct path from the neighborhood to the Coleman Square train station. Before the reconstruction, the now-cement path was a boardwalk with wooden slats.

The boardwalk was in disrepair for many years, with some boards missing and rusty rail, but it was usable. But once Superstorm Sandy hit, the fragile boardwalk was further damaged and deemed too dangerous for the public to use.

Following Sandy, the city dragged its heels on repairing the boardwalk because of a dispute over who actually owned the land beneath it. The city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) claimed that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority owned the land, while the state-run MTA insisted it was the city’s land and responsibility.

Councilman Eric Ulrich then pushed for repairs to be done immediately by the city and the rightful owner, DCAS, took over the project.

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

“This is an issue our office has worked on with DCAS and the Hamilton Beach community for a long time,” Ulrich said. “In an area with limited ways in and out, the boardwalk is a main route connecting many people to the Howard Beach A train station. Residents will once again have easier access to transportation — but the boardwalk is just one part of the neighborhood that needed repair and we aim to fix them all.”

Repairs started back in May and were finished last week. The new “boardwalk” is now a cement path with a stone embankment descending to the water. The walkway has a new fence and guardrail.

“As a whole this is a positive step [for Hamilton Beach],” said Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “It is great that we have another way out of Hamilton Beach that is safer for residents to get to the businesses in Coleman Square and the train station.”

Hamilton Beach is a small portion of Howard Beach and is separated from the rest of the neighborhood by canals and waterways. There are only three ways out of the neighborhood, one being the boardwalk, which was out of commission for the past two years.

“I am glad to finally see that Hamilton Beach is finally getting some of the attention that it desperately needs from the city,” Gendron noted. “This is a great step forward.”

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New Hamilton Beach playground has its grand opening ceremony


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

It was a fun-filled day for the residents of Hamilton Beach on Sunday, as the neighborhood’s brand-new playground was officially opened to the public.

“It’s almost two years to the day that this community, along with many others, was hit with Hurricane Sandy. Not long after Sandy, I was contacted about the playground in Hamilton Beach,” said Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “After many months of planning, I’m happy to say that the children in this community now have a new playground.”

The grand opening event consisted of a bouncy castle, pumpkin patch, balloon clown, popcorn and cotton candy makers and a station for children to paint Stars of Hope, which were displayed all around the neighborhood of Hamilton Beach after Hurricane Sandy struck.

The playground set and project funds were donated by Resorts World Casino. In total, the cost was $40,000 to take down the old Sandy-stricken set, replace it with the new one, add two new benches to the play area, take off the old matting and replace it with new matting.

Gendron was contacted by Councilman Erich Ulrich, who told him Resorts World wanted to come in and rebuild the playground, soon after Sandy virtually destroyed it. They then got together with Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and state Sen. Joe Addabbo, who worked with the National Parks Service and Local 1010 of the Pavers and Road Union to have the playground built.

The project was started in mid-August and was totally finished just last week, but Gendron and the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association wanted to hold a grand opening to thank all those who helped make the project possible.

On behalf of our entire community, I want to thank Resorts World for everything you’ve done for us,” Gendron said. “Resorts World has shown their generosity to Hamilton Beach over and over again and I just want them to know that we truly appreciate everything they’ve done for us.”

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Street name mishaps in Hamilton Beach cause serious problems for residents


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

Hamilton Beach — where the streets have two names.

While it sounds like a U2 spoof, the dually-named streets make it difficult for people to find addresses but more importantly, cause serious problems for first-responders heading toward emergency scenes.

Twice this year, an ambulance responding to a Hamilton Beach resident with diabetes was delayed because the dispatchers failed to recognize her street, Burlingame Court, a local leader alleged. Only the street’s other name, 163rd Road, rang any bells.

“It’s unbelievable that in this day and age we have this problem,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “It is something that could lead to a really serious issue down the line.”

Hamilton Beach has historically been off the city numerical mapping grid, and the streets all originally had names instead of numbers.

In 2007, the city decided to make it part of the grid, following street numbers and avenues from Old Howard Beach, just to the west.

City officials changed some of the street names to numbers but one year later decided to de-map the proposed grid and keep the original names along with the new numbered street names.

The names versus numbers issue has arisen before.

In 2007, a fire broke out on one of the newly numbered Hamilton Beach streets, but fire trucks responded instead to the Old Hamilton Beach side of Hawtree Creek and the house burnt down, Gendron said.

After that, the civic association requested that the streets revert to their original names. But officials instead combined the old and new, leaving many streets with dual names, such as 163rd Drive and James Court or 163rd Road and Burlingame Court.

Councilman Eric Ulrich said he has been working with the 106th Precinct to figure out whether the recent screw-ups were human error or a system problem.

As the precinct investigated the 911 mapping system, they found that both Burlingame Court and 163rd Road showed up. Officials came to the conclusion that it was most likely an issue with the dispatchers and ambulance drivers not being familiar with the neighborhood, according to a representative from Ulrich’s office.

But Gendron is afraid next time may be too late.

“Thankfully they got there in time,” Gendron said. “But something has to be done.

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Hamilton Beach playground hit with graffiti, quickly cleaned


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New Hamilton Beach Civic Association Facebook page

They struck again.

Graffiti vandals tagged up a newly renovated Hamilton Beach playground before it officially opened.

“I was shocked that this happen,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “I think we all knew it could happen, but for it to happen before the playground officially opened is unbelievable.”

On Sept. 19, the vandal spray-painted graffiti on the slide that was just installed in the park. The slide is attached to a brand-new play set that Resorts World Casino shelled out $40,000 to install in the playground on 104th Street at the edge of Hamilton Beach. Graffiti was a major problem with the old playground that once sat there, making it an eyesore for the neighborhood.

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Because of where the park is situated, it is hard for residents to keep surveillance on it. Houses are only on one side and they are separated by a street, handball courts and a basketball court, leaving the playground as an easier target for vandals.

But Gendron said he would not let this new playground set become what the old was one, especially after Resorts World picked up the whole tab to install it.

“The paint will be removed this time and every other time it happens,” Gendron said.

And it has.

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

Auxiliary police officers from the 106th Precinct quickly repainted the slide two days after the vandals struck. They have been a huge presence in the neighborhood when it comes to covering up graffiti.

Gendron said he was humbled by their kind act and hopes that everyone in the neighborhood will join in helping to keep the park in good shape for the children from now on.

Resorts World Casino did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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First 500 feet of new Hamilton Beach ‘boardwalk’ constructed


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

The repair work on the Hamilton Beach walkway connecting the town to the Coleman Square train station is making strides.

The first 500 feet of the now-concrete walkway has been built and officials hope the nearly 2,000-foot path will be fully constructed by the end of September, said Sal Simonetti, chief of staff for Councilman Eric Ulrich, at the Hamilton Beach Civic Association meeting on Aug. 14.

The concrete walkway is expected to be a bit wider than the original wooden boardwalk and will have handrails and lighting, according to Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association.

Work began on May 17, nearly two and a half years after the bridge was rendered too dangerous to use because of damage from Superstorm Sandy.

A look at what the boardwalk looked like after Superstorm Sandy (Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron)

What the boardwalk looked like after Superstorm Sandy (Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron)

Part of the delay was attributed to uncertainty as to which city agency was responsible for the repairs. Ultimately, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services took responsibility and started the repair.

The walkway allows residents a straight path from the train station to Hamilton Beach. Residents have had to take a circuitous route into Hamilton Beach, which included a trek down Russell Street, which lacks an adequate sidewalk.

Even though the plans are mapped out to have the walkway finished by the end of September, Simonetti made it clear that this date was not set in stone.

But Gendron said he was happy that Hamilton Beach is finally starting to get some of its biggest issues addressed.

“This walkway is crucial for the residents of our neighborhood who need access to the Coleman Square train station,” Gendron said. “This will give our neighbors easier access into town and make for safer conditions while doing so.”

 

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Lewd graffiti scrawled on Hamilton Beach footbridge


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Graffiti is nothing new for Hamilton Beach residents. But residents are alarmed over new racist slurs and sexually suggestive images scrawled on a graffiti-covered footbridge connecting the small neighborhood to Howard Beach.

The bridge, which is known as “the blue bridge” to locals and goes over Hawtree Creek, has always been a hangout spot for kids smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, according to Marie Persans, a Hamilton Beach resident. And it has always been laden with graffiti but over the weekend someone, or group, sprayed a series of offensive terms and images on the bridge.

“You’ve got some really nasty stuff written over there,” Persans said. “Thank goodness I don’t use that bridge too often.”

Barbara Eckel-Schimmenti wrote on Facebook, “Walked over the bridge with grandchildren [and] was embarrassed by the profanity.”

A police source said that residents should report these incidents as often as possible to the police, but since the bridge is owned by the Department of Transportation (DOT) there is only so much they can do. For now, the 106 Precinct’s graffiti unit has been informed of the issue.

A spokesman for the DOT said, “We will inspect the location. DOT attempts to remove any such objectionable graffiti as soon as possible.”

Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, said that the bridge also has broken lights and that he brought these issues to Councilman Eric Ulrich’s attention.

The councilman’s office did not immediately return calls for comment.

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Hamilton Beach residents stuck with ruined road


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Roger Gendron

In Hamilton Beach, residents say they witness new potholes and sink holes form right before their eyes.

On 104th Street, a main artery for cars, buses and pedestrian traffic coming in and out of the neighborhood, a new problem developed over just a few days.

“On Monday there was a slight indentation [on 104th Street] and by Thursday it had become a fully developed sink hole,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association.

Residents trace the problem to 10 years ago when new homes were built in one section and the street was gouged in several places for sewer piping. Aside from the newly formed hole in the road, Hamilton Beach’s main road is pocked with numerous holes that span over 200 feet.

The daily task of driving along 104th Street is fraught with indentations of all kinds that often force drivers to drive on the wrong side of the road to save their axles the abuse. The road also has a bus stop for the Q11 but there is no sidewalk for people to wait on, making them another obstacle that drivers have to look out for.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the city do any work on these roads to fix these problems,” life-long resident Marie Persans said. “We see Howard Beach getting paved a lot but all we get is patches that wear out in no time.” Persans is also the vice-president of the civic association.

Residents ultimately want the Department of Transportation (DOT) to put in a completely new roadbed that would elevate the road, preventing pools of water from collecting in the holes during rainstorms. They also want a waiting area for people using the bus.

DOT Spokesman Nicholas Mosquera said that the department doesn’t have the resources to make these long-term changes.

“While DOT will look to include 104th Street in a future reconstruction schedule, the agency will continue to monitor the roadway, which was assessed last month, and repair potholes and perform any other short-term maintenance needs,” he said.

Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office has been working with the community to get the transportation department to get the resources need for long-term changes, according to Sal Simonetti, a representative for the councilman.

“These conditions are horrible,” Gendron said. “This is a very dangerous situation for everybody.”

 

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