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EDC project delaying park in College Pt.: Civics

The delayed construction of a portion of Linden Place is also holding up work on a nearby sports facility, according to a civic leader. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

The years-long delay for a College Point road repair is also holding up the construction of a nearby sports facility, according to a neighborhood civic organization.

The city Economic Development Corp. initially told the Flushing community the reconstruction of Linden Place, between 23rd and 28th avenues, would be completed in the fall of 2009, according to Community Board 7 documents, but the bid has not yet gone out for the job, which is hampering the development of the nearby College Point Fields.

“They’re holding up another project,” said Joe Femenia, chairman of CB 7’s Transportation Committee. “If you’re going to build a roadway and a sports complex, then you want to coordinate it.”

The portion of Linden Place between the two avenues was closed decades ago due to flooding and poor road conditions. Since the late 1980s, the community has been asking the city to not only repair the road, but extend it all they way up to 20th Avenue in order to accommodate traffic coming off the Whitestone Expressway, which acts as a wall isolating the neighborhood and allows only six paths to cross it.

The city Parks Department has the cash on hand to finish constructing baseball diamonds, soccer fields and even a roller skating rink that make up the College Point Fields, but contractors need to wait until reconstruction efforts begin on the road so they can coordinate the installation of essential underground utilities like electricity, according to Femenia.

EDC has dealt with the community throughout the project, but deferred comment to the city Department of Transportation.

The reconstruction of Linden Place was planned in two phases. The first was designed to stabilize the swampy land under the road and was completed in 2010, DOT said. But EDC is preparing a bid for the second phase, which is the physical construction of the road, according to Transportation. Construction of that portion is set to begin next year, DOT said, which means that the rest of the College Point Fields project cannot proceed until then.

In addition to Linden Place, College Point is home to other roadway woes that could be detrimental to the area, according to Femenia.

The College Point Police academy is well on its way to completion, yet the roads surrounding it are sinking into the ground.

Thousands of recruits will be attending class there, where 900 parking spaces will attempt to accommodate commuters.

Ulmer Street, which borders the facility on its eastern side, has sunk into the swampy ground around a large water pipe that has not moved, creating a large bump in the road.

If the street needs to be repaired before the facility is set to open next year and the city has not completed Linden Place, the result would be a traffic nightmare, according to Femenia.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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