Work imminent at former statue site 1

Work had yet to begun on a new pedestrian plaza at the site of the old Civic Virtue statue on Wednesday, a day after officials said it had already started.

More than three years since the “Triumph of Civic Virtue” statue was removed from its perch next to Queens Borough Hall, work on the long-anticipated pedestrian plaza at the site is imminent.

According to Borough President Melinda Katz’s office, construction on the space honoring influential Queens women is beginning this week and should be completed next spring.

“This restoration project will create a fitting tribute in a prominent location in our borough’s civic center, dedicated to the women of Queens,” Katz said in a Tuesday statement. “The site will soon host a visible, meaningful tribute to the women of Queens and become a public space utilized and enjoyed by all.”

The controversial 22-ton statue was removed from the location in December 2012 and taken to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery after several elected officials and a women’s rights group said the artwork — depicting a triumphant sword-wielding Hercules, representing virtue, standing atop two Greek sirens that look like women, representing vice and corruption — was sexist.

The move was protested by area residents and elected officials, while the idea of replacing the statue with a pedestrian plaza honoring important women from Queens was floated by Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and then-Borough President Helen Marshall.

The plaza idea survived the transition from Marshall to Katz and was put out to bid by the city in January.

Brooklyn-based engineering firm Perspective Construction Co. won the $720,000 contract and a representative from the company told the Chronicle on Tuesday that work is set to begin any day now.

According to Katz, Perspective Construction Co. will repair the damaged stonework at the base of the fountain, improve landscaping and install plantings, new lighting and benches for public use. Once completed, the site will also include a ceremonial plaque rededicating the space in honor of the women of Queens.

The restoration work is not anticipated to affect vehicular or pedestrian traffic patterns in the vicinity.

“I am pleased that that the restoration of this site will include a significant tribute to the people who helped to build and shape our wonderful borough; the women of Queens County,” Koslowitz said in a statement. “This new public space will now be able to be enjoyed by everyone, and will contribute to the quality of life enjoyed by the residents of our great borough.”

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