Developers and environmental advocates may often be forced to work together, but Cervino has carved a name for himself over the years as a staunch supporter of various remediations of contaminated College Point development sites.And while he's worked with developers before, what surprised the activist was that DiCamillo actually contacted him to do remediation work in College Point, where his company is based. Cervino said it is usually the other way around."I finally found a developer who wants to do the right thing," said Cervino. "That's really cool. He didn't have to call me in there to do the right thing. He's throwing it in there to do an environmental restoration project."About six months ago, the Bay Park Estates co-op on Fifth Avenue in College Point contacted DiCamillo's company, Camillo Contracting Inc., to see if he could help solve the apartment complex's erosion problems. Bay Park Estates is a waterfront property on the East River, located at the tail end of College Point next to a small, rocky beach. Over the past 20 years, DiCamillo said the waterfront property has lost six feet of land due to erosion. He estimates the cost of restoration to top $1 million."They had a 10-foot yard in the back, now it's down to four feet," he said. "When it was originally done, there was no salt grass planted at the bottom of the riprap (granite and concrete slab seawall), so every time the water washes out, it pulls dirt out into the ocean and the rock falls."DiCamillo knew of Cervino's reputation and asked for his assistance in protecting the yard and riprap through salt grass restoration, a feature of College Point that has all but disappeared in recent years.He said the bad reputation most developers acquire for skimping on the details is usually a result of ignorance about environmental impacts."I know a lot of contractors and I think they're just uneducated on the subject," he said. "They don't do it on purpose. They just don't know. I don't think it's a case of them trying to get away with something.""When he comes in and begins construction, these people will begin to see sea grasses on their property and oysters all along the coast," said Cervino.Cervino said another College Point developer is undertaking a project to restore the old Chilton paint factory in College Point. The plan by CPP Development is currently being reviewed by the Board of Standards and Appeals. The project will include sea grass and riprap restoration and a first to New York City called biorock, a man-made coral reef designed to attract marine life.Cervino will bring in an associate, Dr. Tom Goreau of the Global Coral Reef Alliance in Cambridge, Mass., to help establish the ecosystem."We're basically going to put down rebar, grow limestone rock out of the seawater on these things and organisms that have limestone shells, like oysters, clams and barnacles, will just grow like mad on it," Goreau said. "If that works there's a potential to do a lot more restoration up and down the area. This can protect the shoreline from erosion and it creates a natural protection that allows the beach to grow instead of just washing away."Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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