2017-11-08 / Features

Rockaway’s Fort Tilden Still Defends City After A Century

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO


16" gun Casemate located at the Fort Tilden Historic District. 
Photo Cédric BoismainFurther than Rockaway: Fort Tilden 16" gun Casemate located at the Fort Tilden Historic District. Photo Cédric BoismainFurther than Rockaway: Fort Tilden Looking out to the Atlantic Ocean on the Rockaway Peninsula, Fort Tilden was designed to protect New York City: First, during World War I and World War II with artillery and anti-aircraft installations, and later with Nike Missiles during the Cold War. Today, Fort Tilden continues to protect New York City as the NYPD training site for its Counterterrorism Bureau (CB), our primary local source guarding against the threat of international and domestic terrorism. NYPD has been using the site with a monthly license from the U.S. Department of Defense since August 2016 and has proposed its continued use of the property to provide state-of-the-art counterterrorism training to officers and personnel from police, fire and other first responder agencies and private security firms in the northeast region. The CT Bureau’s Critical Response Command (CRC) is among NYPD’s first lines of defense against a terror-related attack, such as the October 31 truck terror attack on the west side of Lower Manhattan. Responsible to review possible terrorist targets and to develop policies and procedures to guard against those attacks and train first responders and specialized units, NYPD’s CT Bureau was approved by a September 27 vote by the Fort Tilden Local Redevelopment Authority to turn the land over to the City of New York. “The community has a sound, long-term plan for the reuse for the Fort Tilden Army Reserve Center,” said Borough President Melinda Katz in a September 27 press release. “This would be an opportunity for the NYPD to have a cutting-edge counterterrorism training facility that will enhance the security of our borough, city and region,” she said. The 9.15-acre site was declared “surplus property” by the federal government in June 2015, leading Borough President Katz to form the Fort Tilden Local Redevelopment Authority to review and recommend ideas for adapting the site for public use. Formerly the Fort Tilden Army Reserve Center, the site is located at 415 State Road in Breezy Point on property that currently has two buildings, one of 29,469 square feet. and a vehicle storage and repair structure of 7,036 square feet. Notices of Interest were solicited by the Redevelopment Authority from the public in 2016 for the surplus property and NYPD submitted the sole Notice of Interest for the land. The redevelopment plan is under a review governing the transfer of surplus military property and once approved by the Department of Defense, the site will be conveyed to NYPD at no cost. “We look forward to the federal government’s review of the redevelopment plan and are optimistic that this property will continue to be of benefit to the public for decades to come,” said the borough president.

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