An informational meeting to discuss the possibility of adding an “eco-dock” to the Little Bay Park-Fort Totten Park area received positive reaction at a meeting in Bayside last Thursday under certain conditions.
Members of Community Board 7’s Parks Committee heard a presentation by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a nonprofit group that seeks to open up the city’s waterways to the public. The organization is putting in docks at a few locations around the city and would like to add one in the Bayside area around 2014 or 2015.
Eco-docks are floating docks that rise and fall with the tide and make waterfront access possible for boats, kayaks, fishermen and for those wanting to monitor water quality. The estimated cost is $500,000 to $800,000.
Warren Schreiber and Phil Konigsberg, both members of CB 7 and officers of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, said committee members agreed the eco-dock is a good idea, but approved it with the stipulation that the city build the Little Bay Park comfort station and expand the parking area first.
“We’re afraid that the dock will bring a lot more people to the area, and until both projects are completed, it’s not practical,” Schreiber said.
Konigsberg noted the community has been waiting seven years for the improvements and lost patience a long time ago. “I’ve been waiting that long to go to the bathroom there,” he quipped.
City and federal funding totaling $5.4 million was allocated in 2004 to build bathrooms in the park, which is adjacent to Fort Totten, and to reconstruct and expand Little Bay’s parking lot. The Parks Department has blamed other city and state agencies for the holdup on the bathrooms, the latest being the state Historic Preservation Office, which wanted to look into a possible archeological site there.
But Konigsberg said arrangements have been worked out for an archeologist to be on site during construction, rather than hold it up any longer. However, he does not believe work will begin for another year due to additional permits and state approvals that are needed. Then the projects have to be bid out.
Becky Schneider, who represented the waterfront alliance, told committee members that no definite location has been selected for the eco-dock and that her group plans to pay for the installation. Upkeep and repairs, however, would be up to the Parks Department.
“For once, we all agreed on a plan,” Schreiber said.