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The city Parks Department announced last week it had opened the bidding process for the construction of a comfort station at Little Bay Park, putting an end to years of delays and waiting.
After seven years, Bayside leaders were given something to comfort them in their ongoing attempts to beautify Little Bay Park and replace a small row of portable toilets currently in place. Though a Parks spokesman said a time line would be available after all bids were received and evaluated by the July 31 end date, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said work at the site should begin 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.”
Avella said he helped provide more than $1 million as a member of the City Council for the project nearly four years ago, but plans never came to fruition, thanks to what he called a “never-ending bureaucratic delay.”
The senator allocated the money for the construction of public restrooms nearly a year after U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) announced in 2004 he had secured $4.12 million in federal transportation money to expand parking capacity at Little Bay Park and reduce traffic congestion leading into Fort Totten with a rebuilt Cross Island Parkway bridge overpass at 212th Street.
Avella held a news conference with Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, last year to call on Parks to expedite the project.
“I am hopeful that we are one step closer to finally getting the comfort station that residents and park users deserve,” Avella said.
Though Schreiber said he was glad to see the plan moving forward, he was still somewhat apprehensive about the process after being left in the dark for seven years.
“I am pleased they are moving forward with it, but it should have never taken this long,” Schreiber said. “There was a great need for this conversation seven years ago, and now there is an even greater need because more people are using the park.”
From a business perspective, Schreiber said he suspected bad practices when Parks bundled the $5.42 million in city and federal funds together despite his pleas to stay away from commingling money.
“I don’t think there was any attempt to do anything wrong,” Schreiber said. “I just think the whole process was flawed.”
But according to a Parks spokesman, putting different grants together was not an uncommon practice for capital projects of that nature.
Schreiber said he hoped to see Parks make Requests for Proposals easily accessible to the public so residents could know if any changes were made to the construction plans originally introduced seven years ago.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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