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Boro gets stimulus funds to upgrade water infrastructure

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Glendale and Middle Village will get greener streets as part of a massive block of federal stimulus funding going to the city for water infrastructure improvements, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said Tuesday afternoon.

Crowley and Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) joined Gov. David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Tuesday to announce $220 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Of that, $2 million will go to reduce flooding from heavy rains in Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island by transforming existing roadway drainages into “green” infrastructure by planting trees as well as building street planters and landscape rain swales, which will capture and store more water during heavy rains.

Project construction on Dry Harbor Road, 82nd Place and Juniper Boulevard North is expected to begin in January and be completed in January 2012, at which time the property will be maintained by the city Parks Department, Crowley said.

Other improvements include energy efficiency and equipment upgrades to save money and improve water quality at wastewater treatment facilities in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx.

The city will also use $99 million to complete various sewer and water main projects at locations throughout the five boroughs. The funding will provide for replacements, extensions and enhancements of water mains and storm and sanitary sewers.

Crowley praised the move, but called for further funding to improve the borough’s aging pipes.

“Reinvesting in our water and sewage infrastructure is a basic need that has been neglected for too long,” she said in a statement. “While this is a step in the right direction, a lot more needs to be done, especially for the communities still feeling the repercussions of the 2007 storms.”

Crowley said city Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Steven Lawitts has also agreed to look into establishing green streets on 77th Avenue, Penelope Avenue and the streets in Maspeth by Maurice Avenue.

Bloomberg thanked the Obama administration for the funds.

“The infusion of stimulus dollars for water projects will bolster our aggressive programs and help us improve water quality in our rivers and bays and reduce flooding in areas that have long suffered from storm water flooding — particularly in southeast Queens,” he said in a statement, referring to neighborhoods such as Cambria Heights and Far Rockaway.

The state Environmental Facilities Corp. will administer the city’s stimulus funds, with $189 million going into conventional clean water projects and $30.6 million for projects that incorporate green technologies. Some $8 million will be invested in upgrades at conventional treatment facilities subject to approval by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 6:29 pm, October 10, 2011
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