Lt. Gov. & Local Officials Pay Ocean Bay CDC’s Programs a Visit

 Lt. Gov. & Local Officials Pay  Ocean Bay CDC’s Programs a Visit

By Katie McFadden

Coming from Albany, Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, along with many of Rockaway’s elected officials, recently spent some time recognizing the hard work of Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation’s facilities that aim to revitalize and unite the community.

On Tuesday, June 11, Lt. Gov. Delgado, Senator James Sanders, Assembly Members Khaleel Anderson and Stacey Pheffer Amato, Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers and Judge Cassandra Johnson paid a visit to Ocean Bay CDC’s Older Adult Center, servicing senior citizens at 74-16 Beach Channel Drive in Arverne, and the B.R.I.D.G.E. Family Enrichment Center, servicing youth and families at 217 Beach 92nd Street in Rockaway Beach.

Operating since 1999 in the former NYCHA development, Ocean Bay Houses, the Ocean Bay CDC’s “mission is to improve socio-economic populations and revitalize the region by creating a healthier, safer, more prosperous, better-educated population.” Since 2017, Ocean Bay has been under a private-public entity, so now all of Ocean Bay CDC’s programs are open to all New Yorkers and not just NYCHA residents.

In 2022, they opened the Older Adult Center. According to Khalii Thompson, the Older Adult Center’s executive director since June 2023, its mission is to “offer our older adult population a place to socialize, to feel alive, to feel as if they’re still needed and useful in this society.”  The B.R.I.D.G.E. FEC also began to form in 2022 with the hiring of executive director Curtis Turney-Rentas. The space on Beach 92nd Street was acquired and built out in 2023, with operations starting by the end of the year and an official grand opening was held in March 2024. Since then, the B.R.I.D.G.E. FEC has served as a “unique, homelike space where community members of all ages are able to connect, find resources to support one another and contribute to their community.” Its “mission is to be the hub, bringing community members from all ends of the Rockaways and Broad Channel together, serving as the bridge — unifying the community to achieve a common goal.”

On June 11, the elected officials got to see what each program has achieved so far and learned about how they can help them to continue to be successful going forward. According to Ebony Beaty, executive director of Ocean Bay CDC, this special opportunity was made possible by Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson, who works closely with Ocean Bay CDC and their programs. “Assemblyman Khaleel reached out and asked if we would be available for a site visit,” Beaty said.

The first stop of the elected officials’ tour last Tuesday was the Older Adult Center. Delgado, Sanders, Anderson and Brooks-Powers visited this site. According to Thompson, the electeds gave speeches, and then held a meet and greet with the seniors, speaking to them individually and stopping for pictures. “It was a great experience,” Thompson said. “They really got to speak to the officials one on one and got to express themselves and share their complains and concerns and express gratitude as our officials have been instrumental in our center and it’s thriving.”

Thompson went on to explain that the site visit gave her seniors that feeling of importance that she strives to show them every day. “I felt honored as a director to have them visit. But my members felt honored because they felt respected, and it goes back to this feeling of being forgotten, as they’re no longer in the work force and no longer raising kids, but they’re still out here. Mind, body and spirit is intact, but as they get older, they feel forgotten about. This visit made them feel seen, made them feel heard and made them feel important and I felt honored knowing that they felt honored.”

After the visit, Lt. Gov. Delgado shared photos to his social media accounts and said, “Ocean Bay Older Adult Center is ensuring our seniors have access to programming, services and the support they need to remain engaged in their communities. Thank you for having me.”

The next stop was the B.R.I.D.G.E. FEC, where Delgado, Anderson, Brooks-Powers and Johnson were joined by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, for a tour of the facility and an opportunity to address the youth there. To build excitement for their visit, Turney-Rentas had some of the youth study up on each elected official, so they knew just the right questions to ask when they came on June 11. The officials also got to learn a bit about the history of the B.R.I.D.G.E. FEC, their offerings and take a full tour while getting to meet the youth and adults.

“I think this was a huge deal, especially for us being a newly opened center. We just opened in March and our impact has been tremendous, so it was a tremendous honor to be able to host the lieutenant governor and the other elected officials,” Turney-Rentas said. “The lieutenant governor coming to Rockaway is not something you see every day, so having our family, our community members, our youth there to see them, teaching them something, showing them something that is bigger than all of us, is a key moment for me. My own family came to see what I believe is a star moment for the B.R.I.D.G.E. FEC’s timeline and I’m looking forward to seeing what else we have in store.”

Following his visit, Delgado posted about it saying, “Ended the day at B.R.I.D.G.E. FEC, learning about the work being done to engage students in Far Rockaway. This is one of the ways we can set our kids up for success!”

Beaty says to have the officials visit Ocean Bay CDC’s programs meant a lot. “It was an honor to be recognized as a community resource by our elected officials. It’s the people that elect them and put them in place, so it was an honor to have them come back and witness the programs and the work we do for the community.  The community needs to see that their elected officials are supporting the programs that are going on here and it was a pleasure to share that with them,” she said.

For more info about Ocean Bay CDC, see: For updates on the Older Adult Center and the B.R.I.D.G.E. FEC,  follow oac_at_arverne and fecthebridge on Instagram.

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