(L to R above: City Manager Jimmy Morales, Capital Improvement Projects Director David Martinez, Commissioner Micky Steinberg, Commissioner John Alemán, Commissioner Michael Grieco, Parks and Recreation Director John Rebar.)
Gray skies didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for the opening of the new kayak launch in North Beach. Members of the community joined City leaders in cutting the ribbon on the new ADA accessible launch before the first kayakers took to the water.
Commissioner John Alemán pointed out the care taken to preserve the mangrove habitat. “Not only did they not remove one mangrove, in fact, they added mangrove saplings.” In addition to removing invasive plant species, she said, “They constructed the walkway over to the launch so that it allows light in for the plants underneath.”
City Manager Jimmy Morales said, “One of the things we wanted to be very careful about was being respectful of the local ecosystem. We wanted this to be an environmental asset as well as a recreational asset.”
After the ribbon cutting, the first kayakers were ready to go. The launch is weight controlled so that as a user moves down into a kayak, the platform pushes down toward the water allowing the kayak to launch.
There was a line of kayakers and paddle boarders ready to try the new launch. Commissioner Michael Grieco didn’t exactly come dressed for kayaking but he took off his shoes, rolled up his pants and gave it a go… tie and all.
The launch is located west of Dickens Avenue, north of 73rd Street, near the community garden. It is the City’s second ADA accessible kayak launch. The first is in Pine Tree Park. A third is planned for the Crespi Avenue side of the 81st Street pedestrian bridge. A public meeting will be held to discuss those plans Wednesday, May 31 beginning at 6:30 pm at the North Shore Youth Center, 501 72nd Street. For more information, please contact Diana Fontani 305-673-7071 or via email.