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Queens Chronicle

City Won’t Sign Off On Shoddy College Point Sports Field Work

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Posted: Thursday, December 4, 2003 12:00 am

The College Point Sports Complex, which was supposed to have had a grand opening in November, is still not finished because the city is pressuring the contractor to fix its shoddy work before signing off on the $3.6-million project.

“There has been some disappointment with the contractor,” said Department of Design and Construction spokesman Matthew Monahan. “We have told ADC Contracting in no uncertain terms to get it done.”

On recent trips to the 22-acre site on 130th and Ulmer Streets, between 23rd and 26th Avenues, uneven baseball fields filled with pools of rainwater and poor workmanship on the roller hockey rink were evident. Jerry Castro, president of the College Point Little League, has inspected the site regularly and says he doesn’t want kids playing there and falling into holes.

“It doesn’t look very good to me,” he said. “I’ve heard that the Parks Department is so displeased at the shoddy workmanship on the hockey rink that they want it completely redone.”

A Parks Department spokesman confirmed that work still needs to be done but that the project is still in the hands of the DDC. However, a high-ranking Parks official, speaking anonymously, said the fields are a disaster and a disgrace. The official is furious with the contractor for taking so long and doing such a poor job.

Although the DDC had expected the work to be completed by October 31st, Monahan said an update showed the fields weren’t ready and his agency will not sign off on the project until remediation work is done. “The contractor has some correction work to do and the city wants to get it done as soon as possible.”

He pointed to regrading the land for proper drainage and additional work on the hockey rink. Sod has already been laid. Meanwhile, Castro is angry that once again his youngsters are paying the price for city bureaucracy.

“The city quickly built expensive minor league baseball stadiums for the Yankees and Mets and after years we still don’t have ours. It’s unbelievable. We’re getting screwed one way or another.”

His complaints include no drainage, “lousy soil,” and a high water table. “My dog made deep footprints in the soil and it hadn’t even been raining,” he added. “The fields are unplayable. They are like oatmeal.”

The College Point Little League has 25 teams and 300 players. “We were counting on the fields (for next spring) to play games. I’m worried they won’t be ready for spring,” Castro said.

Monahan expects the fields to be ready in time for the next season. “Things need to be done and we will not sign off until they are corrected,” he added.

Teams in College Point have been without the complex’s playing fields for nearly seven years after the city closed them down in 1997 because of illegal fill that had been dumped there by Enviro-Fill. The firm was hired by the College Point Sports Association, which operated the complex for the city, to regrade the playing fields.

Instead, Enviro-Fill used every type of building material instead of dirt and crushed concrete, making it unsafe for play. The city eventually took back the property and it will be under the auspices of the Parks Department, once the DDC approves the work.

The city was forced to remove 36,700 cubic yards of illegal fill or 210,779 tons, which cost $10 million. The DDC project includes one baseball field, one Little League field, the roller hockey rink, a park house and bleachers.

Additional funds have been allocated for a second phase but no decisions have been made on proceeding. It would include a soccer field, another baseball field and perhaps another baseball field and track.

In April, the man responsible for dumping the illegal fill pleaded guilty and agreed to pay the city $250,000. He must also serve three months in jail on weekends and five years’ probation. The firm went out of business after the complex was closed.

The city announced in October that it had filed a $16.5-million lawsuit for damages against the owners of Enviro-Fill and the College Point Sports Association.

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