During a news conference in Queensbridge Park Monday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) and state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) said the funds would go toward a $6 million to $9 million project to repair a 200-foot-long promenade along the East River that looks like it was ravaged by an earthquake.
"Oh, look at this. Oh, my lord, this is horrible," Maloney said, standing near a giant crack behind the 10-foot-high fence that has blocked the sinking retaining wall for three years.
"This is an exceptionally beautiful park with an exceptionally beautiful view of the waterfront," Nolan said against a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.
But the 70-year-old retaining wall in Queensbridge Park is riddled with "gaping holes that someone could fall through and hurt themselves," Maloney said.
On July 31 a Family Day is planned for the park, which draws members of the nearby Queensbridge houses.
"This community deserves a water's edge that doesn't threaten their children's lives. This neighborhood deserves a seawall that's repaired so that they can enjoy their neighborhood," she said.
But officials have a long way to go.
With the latest funding stream - $500,000 in federal money and $325,000 in MTA Capitol Reserve Funds - legislators have raised $1 million toward the project.
That would cover only a fraction of the repairs, Maloney said, and the federal government has yet to examine the project's feasibility.
The Army Corps of Engineers has done an initial study to determine federal interest, Maloney said. After reviewing the results, the corps should do a feasibility study, which could take between 18 months and five years, according to a project summary from Maloney's office.
And while the U.S. House of Representatives has approved the $500,000 allocation, the Senate has not. Maloney said she hopes it will pass sometime after the Nov. 4 elections.
Politicians have discussed repairing the seawall for years, and this was the third news conference to announce funding for the project.
In July 2002 Maloney, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, (D-Jackson Heights) and City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) announced $350,000 in city and federal funds to conduct the initial corps' study.
And in March 2003 Crowley announced that the federal portion of the funding - $100,000 - had finally come through.
Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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