Northern Blvd. work to end in 2011

Northern Blvd. work to end in 2011
Workers perform environmental restoration in Alley Pond Park Tuesday. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Nathan Duke

Three major projects along Northern Boulevard, including the creation of a pumping station in Douglaston and the renovation of the Alley Pond Environmental Center, will probably wrap up within the next year, leaders of Community Board 11 said.

Among the projects are a massive undertaking to halt flooding in Bayside as well as filter sewer overflow in Douglaston, the repairing of five sites around Oakland Lake and a $7 million renovation of the center.

“They are all interrelated,” said Jerry Iannece, chairman of CB 11. “Everybody gets a win. The environmental center gets repairs, the pumping station will be upgraded and the ecosystem will be cleaned up.”

The Douglaston pumping station along Northern Boulevard has been created to prevent flooding in Bayside following rainstorms and to filter overflow from Douglaston’s sewers.

The city Department of Environmental Protection had estimated the project would be completed by November, but Susan Seinfeld, district manager of CB 11, said it will likely be finished early next year.

The first phase of the project, which was completed in 2007, was aimed at stopping flooding in Bayside Hills, while storm drain lines were installed at a number of sites, including Springfield Boulevard and sections near of the Cross Island Parkway.

Its second phase is located on a huge lot along Northern Boulevard in Douglaston. The lot, near the Alley Pond Environmental Center, is the site of an old pumping station. Sewer overflow and stormwater are to be held in a large tank at the site before being filtered and directed back to a water treatment plant.

The third phase is the cleaning of five locations around Bayside’s Oakland Lake and Ravine, including Springfield Boulevard at 46th Avenue, the Oakland Lake Outlet, Cloverdale Boulevard and Birmington Parkway, the Birmington Parkway Gully and the southern end of the ravine.

“When people jog around the lake, they now won’t be jogging through mud and puddles,” Iannece said.

The DEP had estimated the upgrade would be finished by December, but Seinfeld said it would not likely be completed until 2011.

The city is restoring 10 acres of wetland in the lake’s vicinity as part of the cleanup as well as fixing collapsed catch basins, curbs and paths that control storm water.

But the DEP’s pumping station project appears to have caused some damage to the floors and walls of the Alley Pond Environmental Center, which is across the street from the city project.

“The pile driving at the project shook part of the building, so there are cracks in its foundation,” Seinfeld said.

She said she did not know when the renovation would begin, but Iannece said it would take a year and a half.

The center’s upgrade will include renovating the nature site’s existing building as well as adding up to 5,000 square feet of new space, said Irene Scheid, the center’s executive director. It is at 228-06 Northern Blvd. in Douglaston.

Scheid said one of APEC’s trails has been closed during the DEP work, but she said the trail should be reopened soon.

She said a viewing deck to look over Alley Pond Creek is also almost finished, although she could not give an exact timetable.

The project will add new modules that will be connected to the center through a covered walkway. The center had some minor renovations 10 years ago, but has not undergone a complete upgrade for several decades due to its proximity to marshland.

APEC was founded in 1972 by a group of teachers who wanted more environmental education in the public school system.

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