It’s been 30 years, what’s another 10 months?
The massive infrastructure project for Centreville, HWQ411B, is facing another delay.
The city Department of Design and Construction says work, originally scheduled for the Koch administration, will not begin until Spring 2015 with an estimated completion date of July 2017.
But at the Ozone Park Civic Association’s meeting last week, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) — who was born five years after the project was first proposed — said there is at least one sign of progress.
A contractor has been chosen.
But that’s where the good news ends.
HWQ411B would replace 12 miles of street with new asphalt, sidewalks, curbs, pedestrian ramps, storm drains and trees in the Centreville section of Ozone Park between North Conduit Avenue, Linden Boulevard, Cross Bay Boulevard and Aqueduct Race Track, including Centreville Street, Albert Road and Pitkin Avenue. It would also overhaul the neighborhood’s sewer system.
It was first proposed in 1980, but has been on hold since, creating a symphony of cynicism around the project.
“I’ve given up,” said Howard Kamph, president of the Ozone Park Civic Association, who noted the project has been on the table since before his son, now 31, was born.
With the contractor chosen, the DDC still has to go through the land acquisition process where it has to take some private property, notably along Centreville Street where there are no sidewalks, in order to construct them and widen the roadway.
According to a DDC presentation made at the meeting, just under 219,000 square feet of private property will need to be acquired for the project, and that is slated to be done by the end of this year.
But Kamph said he suspects that could take years as some homeowners whose property would be affected have vowed to sue the city.
“I’m sure they’re going to have protesting and everyone’s not going to be happy,” he said, noting that he was surprised that the city chose a contractor before acquiring the properties that it needs.
“I hope they’re not going to give them any money or any deposits,” Kamph added.
He said the cost of the project has also ballooned to $50 million, twice as much as it was originally slated to cost.
The wait has had ramifications beyond just tried patience.
Kamph said in January that some residents have put off renovations, including sidewalk repairs, until the project starts. Some streets in dire need of repair are worn away while the project is in limbo.
Among them is 97th Street between 149th and Pitkin avenues, which is riddled with potholes and has been for several years.
The DDC did not respond to inquiries about the project before press time.