The city’s Parks Department expects to complete a long-awaited comfort station at Little Bay Park by fall 2014, a spokesman for the agency said.
Bayside leaders, who have been calling for the station for seven years, said they were pleased that the project could finally come to fruition.
“I’m hopeful that the project moves forward,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “But I’m somewhat skeptical because of all the delays and excuses that have been given to us in the past.”
Parks Department Spokesman Zachary Feder said construction on the comfort station is scheduled to begin in March.
The $5 million project, which is expected for completion by fall 2014, will include a new comfort station and an expanded 100-car parking lot with bioswales that clean and absorb storm water runoff, which would reduce the burden on the area’s storm water drains. The site will also get new trees, plantings and utilities.
The bidding process for the project is nearly complete and contracts will soon be finalized, Feder said.
Schreiber said the Porta Potties currently at the site are “unsightly.”
“The Porta Potties are not sanitary or appealing,” he said. “If I were in the park with my granddaughter, I’d do anything to prevent her from going into one of those facilities. I’d sooner take her to a local restaurant or rush her home.”
State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, secured $1 million for the comfort station four years ago, while former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman had allocated as much as $4 million for the project.
But numerous delays, including an argument that the site could have “archeological significance,” halted the comfort station’s construction.
“It was absurd,” Schreiber said. “There was no archeological significance. It was a landfill. The only thing buried there was garbage.”
Avella said he was glad to see that the project would finally be underway.
“After years of bureaucratic delays, I am pleased that this project is another step closer to fruition," he said. "I am hopeful that soon enough shovels will be in the ground and park users will finally be able to utilize a comfort station at Little Bay Park.”