ROCKAWAY BEACH — A top official who served as the public face of the Rockaways' multimillion dollar boardwalk rebuilding project is stepping down before construction on the long-delayed project officially starts, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Greg Clancy was a senior vice president of capital programs with the Economic Development Corporation and started working on the boardwalk project, which is run by the Parks Department with construction managed by EDC, last year.
Clancy is leaving the EDC on April 16 to join RXR Realty as a vice president of development, he said. The tri-state real estate and investment company hired former EDC president Seth Pinsky last year.
Clancy was an integral part of the boardwalk project, and helped coordinate the design, engineering and architectural elements — especially with respect to coastal protection.
He also took the lead at more than a dozen community meetings to present and discuss the plan to rebuild the boardwalk, which was partially destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.
The project has been delayed multiple times, and is scheduled to start at the end of the month.
Community meetings often became contentious as frustrated residents lashed out against the lack of protection and their impatience with the timeline.
But Clancy had a "calming effect" — which he backed up with science and facts, according to Jonathan Gaska, district manager for Community Board 14.
"He had a very soothing tone when he spoke, which was important because this is such a controversial issue for Rockaway," Gaska said. "That's going to be a loss, and we wish him luck."
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder echoed those sentiments.
"Greg was knowledgeable and informative," he said. "He expressed confidence where every other city employee failed before."
A spokeswoman for the EDC, Kate Blumm, confirmed his departure and said the project would remain in good hands.
"We are grateful to Greg for his years of service to the city and to EDC, and wish him all the best in the next stage of his career," she said.
"We look forward to continuing to support the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation on its important work to rebuild and strengthen the Rockaway Boardwalk and Beach, fortifying the neighborhood’s coastal defenses and protecting the area from future storms."
Clancy said it's been a "privilege" for him to play a part in helping Rockaway recover from Sandy.
"I was glad to be a part of it, and even though I won’t be in charge to see the boardwalk through, I am proud of the small role I played in getting it teed up and ready for construction," he said.
"I remain optimistic that the project will be a huge success once it’s done."