Tag Archives: comfort station

Parks Department announces construction for Little Bay Park’s soccer field will begin in 2015


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The City Council is kicking in more than $1 million to fix up Little Bay Park’s long-neglected soccer field.

Last year, $1.6 million was allocated by City Council, and the money will go to replacing the old soccer field’s turf with a new natural turf made of sand and soil, according to Community Board 7. The Parks Department will also be installing new benches, drinking fountains, plants and trees. The new turf will have a second use as a bioswale, a feature that would prevent storm water runoff from going into the bay.

Construction will begin in fall 2015 and will take a whole year to be completed. During that time, the site will be fenced in. The Parks Department is also currently working on a comfort station in the park.

Earlier this year, Alfredo Centola, a member of Malba Gardens Civic Association wrote an open letter to the Parks Department urging the city to move quickly on fixing the soccer field.

“We understand there is money to replace at least one field if not both,” he wrote. “We have been trying for years to get these fields repaired and or replaced, let alone maintained.”

Centola observed that the park had tire marks in it, along with rocks and pebbles. He continued, “Your assistance in remediating this field ASAP would be greatly appreciated. As you are aware, soccer season is fast approaching and practices have already been scheduled. Mind you, this is a soccer field that is scheduled to be used by over 600 community children beginning this week. The wood chips and the tire groves that are over 6 inches deep should not be here.”

The majority of the $1.6 million was secured by then-Councilman Dan Halloran in 2013. The Parks Department didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.

Community board members welcomed the news, saying that the field is in need of new turf because the current ground is rough and people easily get cut on it. The Parks Department expects the new turf to last for at least 15 years.

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Parks Department postpones decade-long Whitestone project


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Parks Department

The completion of Little Bay Park’s comfort station is being postponed yet again, officials said.

The Parks Department said the most recent delay was due to a harsh winter and an unusually high amount of soil that had to be removed from the construction site.

The new deadline for completion is set for next spring and, once finished, it will end a project that has sputtered along for a decade.

State Sen. Tony Avella and former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman secured millions of dollars in 2004 to install bathrooms and expand the parking lot.

As of now, visitors to the park and Fort Totten must use portable toilets.

The department finally broke ground last year and announced that the whole project would be finished this fall.

But that deadline is going to be missed, according to a spokesman for the Parks Department.

While the bathrooms won’t be completed until next year, the Parks Department plans to complete a 100-space parking lot and install bioswales to absorb stormwater runoff this fall.

The current budget for everything is $6.659 million, a higher amount than Avella and Ackerman collected in 2004.

As construction continues, the majority of the park, which is named after the bay it faces, is fenced off.

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Little Bay Park comfort station back on track


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0089w

Long-delayed plans to construct a comfort station at Bayside’s Little Bay Park are back on track after seven years of derailment, officials said.

The bidding process for the capital project has begun and will last until July 31, said a spokesperson for the city’s Parks Department. While the spokesperson said a construction time line will only be available after all bids are received and evaluated, State Senator Tony Avella said he expects shovels to hit the ground by the end of the year.

“After years of bureaucratic delays, I am pleased that this project is finally moving forward,” Avella said. “It is a real shame that a great park like Little Bay Park, which has what I consider the best dog run in the entire city, does not have a comfort station.”

The senator rallied with Bayside community activists and residents last November to urge the Parks Department to begin the revitalization project. Avella, who previously allocated funding for a dog run in the park, apportioned $1.3 million for the public restrooms seven years ago at the same time Congressmember Gary Ackerman secured a $4.1 million federal transportation allocation to reconstruct and expand the Little Bay parking lot and rebuild the Cross Island Parkway bridge overpass at 212th Street.

Neither project has commenced, and three port-a-potties are currently stationed in the park.

The project came to a pause after funding provided by the state’s Department of Transportation required additional review and time for comments, a Parks spokesperson said. The site’s coastal wetland location and the need for new sewer connections also called for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation and city’s Department of Environmental Protection to provide approvals on design and construction documents. The agency said the funding was secure and had not been reallocated.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, suspected the project slowed to a halt after the Parks Department bundled the $5.42 million in city and federal funds together — a move he said was “not a good business procedure.”

“For some reason, everything seemed to come to a stop,” he said. “I don’t think there was any wrongdoing or corruption in handling the funds. It just wasn’t handled properly.”

But a Parks spokesperson said combining city and federal grants was not unusual when funding municipal capital projects.

Schreiber also pushed for the agency to make Requests for Proposals available to the public to see if any changes have been made to the seven-year-old plan.

“It could still be at least another 18 months before we actually get to use the comfort station at that location,” he said.

— Additional reporting by Michael Pantelidis