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Millions in Unused Funds May Finally Come to Use in Local Parks

Fort Totten and Little Bay Parks were meant to get a makeover, but the process has been slow going.

If you need to use the restroom while in Little Bay Park, you may have to hold it for a long time.

The Dept. of Parks and Recreation expects to put the job of construction of the bathrooms—and the rest —out for bid by the end of this summer, but the federal and city government allocated the money in 2004 and 2005.  

Six and seven years later, the projects still dawdle in bureaucratic review.

The projects include  $4.2 million to expand the parking lot of Fort Totten Park—adjacent to Little Bay Park, and to build an overpass over the Cross Island Parkway, according to Parks & Rec.

A spokesperson for the agency said that while the process has taken “longer than anticipated,” park-goers should remember that the facilities are to be built near Little Neck Bay, which raise the demands for review and regulation.

“The parking lot expansion and comfort station project at Little Bay Park involves multiagency coordination as the facilities are located near wetlands and require a new sewer line to be added,” the agency said in a statement. “Although navigating through the multilevel regulatory process has taken longer than anticipated, we expect to put the project out to bid, pending approvals from the State, by the end of this summer.”

The projects, which a spokesman said must go forward all together in order to meet federal matching funds requirements, are now being reviewed by the State Department of Transportation.

“Seven years have now passed and neither project has experienced a shovel-in-the-ground,” , Warren Schrieber.

“As we are all too well aware, co-mingling funds is never good practice,” Schreiber said, adding, “It inevitably results in a loss of accountability and a worst case scenario can be an intentional or unintentional misuse of the financial allocation.”

Warren Schreiber July 08, 2011 at 11:22 AM
As someone who has been involved in this process from day one, I can tell you that the information provided by the Department of Parks and Recreation is not entirely accurate. The federal and city funds were separate and distinct allocations, which were not intended or required to be bundled together. Parks and Recreation would never knowingly lie to the public, so I'm sure they just misremember the facts.
Geraldine Spinella July 08, 2011 at 01:53 PM
As another community member who was intimately involved with the process of taking Fort Totten from the Federal level to the NYC level, I have to agree that getting anything accomplished with the tangle of bureaucracy created by our government is an exercise in frustration. In addition to the millions of dollars allocated to park improvements, the Bayside Historical Society was awarded $560,000 by BP Marshall to install an elevator in the Castle for the purpose of making all of the building accessible to everyone. That was in 2005. Where are the funds? There is no elevator still and many architectural firms visited at the request of Parks to come up with a plan. The BHS had designed a plan that would have cost $155,000. Go figure. Government waste at work. Don't even wonder why the country is drowning in debt. Money just seems to disappear into a black hole.

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