As pedestrian plaza projects begin at Myrtle and Cooper avenues, the Glendale War Memorial at the Glendale Veterans Triangle will not be leaving its home, the city confirmed.
The war memorial was dedicated in 1921 to honor the 21 Glendale residents who died in combat during World War I, and is a major piece of Glendale’s history. Some feared the monument might be moved, damaged or taken away as construction begins on transforming the triangle into a pedestrian plaza by expanding the sidewalk across 70th Street between Myrtle and Cooper avenues.
“The monument will not be touched or moved in any way,” said Michelle Perez, the plaza project’s on-site Community Construction Liaison, at the Community Board 5 (CB 5) monthly meeting on June 8. “The contractors are going to work really hard to protect the monument so that it is not damaged in any way possible. That is a priority for our contractors.”
The plaza projects are designed to not only beautify the area for the neighborhood with greenery, seating areas and street lighting upgrades, but also to improve vehicular and pedestrian traffic by realigning the streets and reducing traffic speed in conjunction with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan.
“When they extend [70th Street] back, there will be seating for the community, seating for the public. There will also be a [drinking] fountain,” Perez said. “We’re going to plant about 12 trees. We’re also planting over 100 bushes, [it will be] very green.”
The nearly $3.4 million project will also include the installation of water mains, storm sewers and catch basins as well as fire hydrant replacements. All of this work will take place on 70th Street from Cooper Avenue to Myrtle Avenue, Myrtle Avenue from 70th Street to 71st Street, and Cooper Avenue from 70th Street to 71st Street — which will extend that intersection into its own plaza.
The water main work has begun and is expected to continue until August, followed by the installation of catch basins. From August through November, the plaza enhancements will be made. During that time — from September through November — curb and sidewalk repairs will take place. Roadway reconstruction will happen from November through December. The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) noted that these dates are approximate and may change due to weather and field conditions.
The estimated completion date for the plazas is spring 2017. The DDC is also working to get the 70th Street plaza complete by December, just in time for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony that takes place at the Glendale War Memorial.
“So far we’ve had good cooperation [with DDC], as you know we had the Memorial Day Parade and they put off any activity in the area so we could have our event there,” said Vinny Arcuri, chairperson of CB 5. “The contractor and the DDC have assured us that they will make every effort to have the 70th Street plaza portion ready in time for the holiday Christmas tree lighting.”