After seven years of city delays, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced last week that the Department of Parks has begun the bidding process to build a comfort station at Little Bay Park.
Avella indicated that construction is expected to begin by the end of the year. He provided more than $1 million as a member of the City Council, but the project has faced what he calls “never-ending bureaucratic delays.”
“It is a real shame that a great park like Little Bay, which has what I consider the best dog run in the entire city, does not have a comfort station,” Avella said. “With today’s announcement, I am hopeful that we are one step closer to finally getting the comfort station that residents and park users deserve.”
Not so optimistic is Phil Konigsberg, first vice president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, who has been fighting to get the work done for years. “I am gratified to hear the apparent progress in the continuing seven-year saga of the bathrooms-to-be at Little Bay Park,” Konigsberg said. “Unfortunately, I have become disillusioned by the dysfunction demonstrated by several intergovernmental agencies since 2004, when then Councilman Avella and Parks Commissioner AdrianBenepe announced that funding had been secured for the building of a comfort station in Little Bay Park.
“The park has since grown in popularity as a local and regional recreational destination but does not provide the basic services to meeta vital human need. My original statement, ‘Build a park andpeople will come, but where will they go?’regrettablystill applies today,” Konigsberg added.
He is now concerned that once the project begins, there won’t be enough money to finish it. Avella’s office allocated $1.3 million. In addition, Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-Queens, Nassau) also awarded $4.12 million to reconstruct and expand Little Bay’s parking lot and to reconstruct the Cross Island Parkway Bridge overpass at 212th Street. Neither project has been done yet.
Parks has blamed other city and state agencies for the holdup. The most recent snafu involved the state Historic Preservation Office, which was looking into a possible archeological investigation at the site.