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Tight budget slows down Linden Place renovation

Budget constraints have put on hold a city project to fix one of the only roads leading into the heart of College Point.

A plan to repair a stretch of Linden Place slated for fiscal year 2003-2004 has been pushed back at least two years, said Marilyn Bitterman, district manager for Community Board 7.

"I am pretty convinced that all of these capital jobs are on hold," Bitterman said.

The lack of funding prevents the immediate reconstruction of one of the few roads leading to College Point's business district. In the late 1980s, the city shuttered Linden Place north of 28th Avenue due to frequent flooding on the road.

Linden Place runs through a swampy area. To the east of the road sits the Flushing Airport site, a large portion of which the city plans to transform into wetlands. To the west is an undeveloped portion of the College Point Corporate Park.

With Linden Place closed, only three streets - College Point Boulevard, 20th Avenue and 14th Avenue - lead into the heart of College Point. Residents have complained of congestion on each of those roads.

For years the design of the street was debated. Initially the city proposed one lane of traffic in each direction with parking on each side of the street.

Members of CB 7, however, wanted two lanes of traffic in each direction. Eventually, the city incorporated the community board's request into its plan.

The city also agreed to build a short road connecting 132nd Street to the point where Linden Place makes a sharp curve, Bitterman said.

The current plans for the $8 million project include reconstruction of the road, construction of sidewalks and the installation of utilities and lighting, said Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the city Economic Development Corp., which manages the College Point Corporate Park.

The road is being elevated to avert flooding, Patterson said.

Fred Mazzarello, president of the College Point Board of Trade, said the condition of Linden Place prevents development on its western side.

"From time to time, people keep asking me about it, especially the old-timers," he said.

Bitterman said she was disappointed with the delay.

"It's very frustrating," she said. "The community certainly deserves an additional road, a necessary road."

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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