Concerns over the chopping down of an estimated 89 trees at the new police academy being built in College Point was expressed at the Community Board 7 district service cabinet meeting on April 26.
The trees that were cut down were dead or sickly and had suffered severe flooding conditions at the former swampland site, according to a spokesperson for the Parks Department. He indicated that the Police Department, which coordinated with the city’s Department of Design and Construction on the project,will be replacing the trees with 132 new ones.
According to the spokesperson, the Parks Department will advise the DDC and NYPD as to which replacement plantings stand the best chance of survival at the site. The deaprtment will also suggest optimum locations for planting around the new facility, which is considered a rough site for trees.
“It’s the soil,” said Susan Lacerte, executive director of the Queens Botanical Garden. “The designer should know that.”
In order to avoid damage to the new trees, they will not be planted until spring or fall of 2013, as construction of Phase 1 of the project nears completion.
Meanwhile, from all indications, the project itself is on track.
Inspector Terrence Riley of the New York Police Department said, “Construction is well under way. It has reached its height. We’ve generally had no problems.”
The academy will be bounded by College Point Boulevard, Ulmer Street and 28th and 31st Avenues.
Riley said the academy is scheduled to open in December 2013, coinciding with the completion of Phase 1, which is budgeted at $656 million.
At that time, he said, all the areas that would be required to train entry-level recruits would be in place, including classrooms and a gymnasium, as well as administrative space.
When completed, the academy will reach eight stories in height, including a penthouse, he said. As many as 2,000 cadets will be able to train during each six-month cycle.
Riley said no timeline has been established yet for Phase 2 of the project, which would incorporate facilities such as shooting ranges and a police museum. Proceeding on that phase would depend on the budget at the time.
“We expect maintenance people at the Police Academy,” Eugene Kelty Jr., Chairperson of CB7, told Riley, out of concern for the trees and vegetation that will eventually grow on the property.
“There will be, of course,” Riley promised.