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Construction at Little Bay Park has been ongoing, the city Parks Department said, but one northeast Queens activist has been keeping a close watch on the progress and said he has not seen enough.
Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, has been at the forefront of the community effort to renovate the park for nearly a decade. He was all smiles when the Parks Department broke ground in April to upgrade the area and replace portable toilets with a long-awaited comfort station, but even then was skeptical because of the years he waited for action.
“Many of you have noticed that work on the Little Bay Park Comfort Station and parking lot expansion have come to a grinding halt,” he wrote in an e-mail. “That’s not completely true because in actuality, construction never began.”
Schreiber said he reached out to the Parks Department and was told that work on the site was delayed to buy time for the contractor there to acquire proper construction permits. A Parks spokesman, however, denied the claims and said the city has been hard at work to renovate the park.
“The project is not delayed, and construction is well underway,” the spokesman said. “The project remains on schedule to be finished by the projected completion date of fall 2014, the date we announced when we broke ground.”
Over recent weeks, crews have been specifically working to improve drainage at the site, installing 29 underground stormwater retention tanks, the Parks spokesman said. The $5 million city project will also spend the next several months building the new comfort station, planting new trees and paving an expanded 100-car parking lot, Parks said.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has been an active force in the efforts to get shovels in the ground at Little Bay Park and worked closely with Schreiber over the last eight years to make that a reality. He allocated money for new public restrooms there nearly a year after former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman 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.
Little Bay Park was gated off in the spring to make way for the construction, which also created some parking concerns in northern Bayside near Fort Totten. The nearest option for anyone now trying to park their car near Little Bay is just under the Throgs Neck Bridge or off Bell Boulevard.
Schreiber, who lives in nearby Bay Terrace, made jokes at an unofficial April ground-breaking near the park that he would start renting out his driveway space to accommodate what has become a parking stalemate.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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