After years of decay, the seawall in Queensbridge Park may finally be repaired, a spokesman for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens and Manhattan) said Friday.
The city Parks Department put out a request for proposals to study the park’s esplanade after meeting with Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria), state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) Maloney and Bishop Mitchell Taylor.
The RFP is soliciting proposals for testing the site to determine the extent to which there are contaminants in the soil. A bid winner will be selected soon, and testing should begin in late June and last for 12 weeks. The bid-winning contractor will be required to take samples of the soil and groundwater at various depths and submit them to an independent laboratory for analysis. The contract also calls for a review of findings and the issuance of a final report to specify the legal and recommended disposal methods when mitigating any contamination while restoring the shoreline and the seawall.
Stalled for more than a decade, the project has once again started to move forward after all the parties involved in the repair joined in February to create a Queens Seawall Task Force, resolving to make the long neglected project a top priority.
“We are very pleased that we are finally able to undertake necessary testing within Queensbridge Park, which is the first important step towards the reconstruction of the park’s seawall,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe in a statement. “Thanks to the leadership of Congresswoman Maloney and Borough President Helen Marshall who are working with local elected officials, we believe we will soon be in a position to reconstruct the seawall so that local residents can enjoy access to their waterfront.”
A 200-foot portion of the seawall on the East River in Queensbridge Park has completely failed, and has remained fenced off for safety reasons, eliminating local residents’ access to the waterfront.In addition, there are MTA-owned cathodic protection devices in the seawall that may be endangered if the seawall continues to deteriorate.
Because of these devices, the Army Corps of Engineers deemed the repair of the seawall to be in the federal interest.
Maloney was able to obtain four separate appropriations totaling $550,000 to pay for a feasibility study to be conducted by the ACE. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside) obtained $325,000 in state funds and local officials provided $250,000 in city funds but the city decided not to use ACE and to do the work itself.Years later, the wall continues to sink.
According to Maloney, it is expected that the Parks Department will perform the remediation, and the NYC Department of Transportation will satisfy environmental mitigation obligations by doing the restoration work, once it is determined what needs to be done.
“I am so pleased to see that the Parks Department is moving forward on repairing the Queens Seawall, considering that the residents of Queensbridge Houses have waited almost two decades for their access to the waterfront to be restored and for this potential crisis to be averted,” said Mitchell Taylor, president and founder of the East River Development Alliance in a statement. “Thank you to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and the members of Queens Seawall Task Force for making sure that this critical issue is no longer neglected.”