While the flooding in Lindenwood was the most heavily discussed topic at last Thursday’s Community Board 10 meeting, another pressing flooding issue was addressed as well.
State Department of Environmental Conservation representative Joanna Field presented the board with an update on the hazard mitigation project at Spring Creek Park, including a rough estimate of when the three phases of work will begin and end.
According to Field, the first phase will include data collection in the form of air and soil sampling as well as topographical studies of the park and Jamaica Bay.
The best case scenario for the completion of phase one is this December, while the worst case scenario is next July.
“Initially, we hoped that phase 1 would end in August of this year. We are in the legislation agency coordination phase. That’s turned out to be more challenging than expected,” Field said. “It’s clear that we will have to ask [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] for an extension.”
The second phase, which will be the construction of various flood mitigation measures, could begin anytime between next March and December 2015, depending on the timetable for the first phase.
The DEC estimates the $50 million project may end between June 2016 and August 2017.
Flood mitigation features outlined in the plan include the planting of low- and high-level vegetated salt marshes, grasslands, dune complexes and maritime forests at increasing elevations, all of which will help guard against storm surges that accompany strong Nor’easters and tropical systems like Hurricane Sandy.
“Coastal storm reduction is our overarching goal,” Field said.
The DEC is also eyeing improving greenspace in the public park, but not everyone is enthused by the proposal.
Joann Ariola, CB 10 member and president of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association, opined that public use of the park would be detrimental to the surrounding residents.
“There should be no public usage,” Ariola said. “It would have such an adverse effect on the community. The adjacent homeowners are vehemently opposed.”
CB 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton noted she can see why some neighboring homeowners would be upset, but that it’s out of her hands.
“We just can’t point blank say ‘no public use of public parkland,” Braton said. “We do have to observe the requirements of law, it’s public parkland.”