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Little Bay Park Comfort Station Could Be Completed by Fall 2014: Parks Dept.

Long-awaited project would replace Porta Potties at Bayside park.

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.” 

Geraldine Spinella January 29, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Wow - activity - and after only 7 years! A breakthrough! Perhaps the Parks Department will also find the $550,000 they received from Helen Marshall in 2005 to install an ADA compliant elevator in the Castle for the Historical Society. People are waiting to be able to attend art shows and musical events on the second floor which they can't reach. When is this project starting?
Phil Konigsberg January 29, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Glad to hear a new development in this long saga. However, I still stand by my comment last year in Patch. Here is an excerpt: I have no confidence in any public announcements or timelines indicated on this project. It has been seven long years since our community was told that funding had been secured for providing a facility to service a basic human need of the park visitors - being able to go to the bathroom. The only way to change my outlook at this point is hopefully to be around and partake in the proverbial shovel in the ground ceremony. I recall the slogan I chanted seven years ago, "Build a park and people will come, but where will they go?" Unfortunately, those words are still relevant today. I also agree with Geraldine that it is also long overdue to have an elevator installed in the Bayside Historical Society's landmarked Castle, a building that must be accessible to all in the community.
Michael Feiner January 29, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Tell you what I'll race ya: The comfort stations in Little Bay Park vs the completion of the renovations of the Oakland Lake area. That project actually began before nobody ever thought of Little Bay Park bathroom facilities. Sorry but pessimism abounds!
Mitch Schwadron January 30, 2013 at 09:25 PM
I can hardly wait, as I dance about on one foot expectedly awaiting the opening of the door to the long awaited throne of choice, heated and clean. It's a lot better than an isolated tree in a deserted corner of the park. At least the people feeling pressured to react won't be further complicated by the ever prying eyes of the local constabulary. They'll be able to close the door and evacuate their internal needs in privacy as afforded by a guarantee of safety and security.

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