Sprucing Up Area Parks

Pol Updates Board 5 On Green Projects

While the first phase of improvements at the Ridgewood Reservoir are coming to an end, plans are in the works for makeovers at other parks around Glendale and Middle Village, members of Community Board 5 learned during the advisory body’s meeting last Wednesday, Apr. 10, at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village.

City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley reported Parks Department crews are nearing completion of the first part of the reservoir’s reconstruction, which focused on the exterior area of the 55-acre, naturally overgrown site adjacent to Highland Park and straddling the Brooklyn/ Queens border.

Among the improvements being include repairs to the 1 1/4 mile-long asphalt pathway wrapping around the reservoir, the rehabilitation of a causeway running between two of the reservoir’s three basins, the installation of new perimeter lighting and the creation of a handicapped accessible ramp between the pathway and nearby Vermont Place.

Once the work is completed in the coming weeks, Crowley stated, a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held “later this spring/early this summer” to celebrate the reservoir’s new look.

Additionally, the lawmaker said, the Parks Department has awarded a contract to a company tasked with renovating a large portion of Evergreen Park, located on 60th Place between 75th and St. Felix avenues in Glendale, adjacent to P.S. 68. As previously reported, the Parks Department plans to replace a wading pool and bocce court with a playground for young children and new sprinkler play areas.

Improvements will soon be made at the bocce courts at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village, Crowley added. The plans reportedly include the installation of a third court and canopies to keep players cool on sunny days.

The Council member added that there is additional funding being provided for improvements to parks “in the upper Glendale area.”

“There’s been constituents who have asked for a dog park” in Forest Park near the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Union Turnpike, she said. “Some trees have come down due to Superstorm Sandy, and the [Parks] commissioner recommended an area” for it.

Crowley also mentioned that she is pursuing additional funding for the first phase of reconstruction at the Glendale library and projects to alleviate flooding problems in Glendale and Middle Village.

Kate Mooney, a member of Crowley’s staff, elaborated on the Glendale dog park plans at the joint meeting of the Glendale Property Owners Association and the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol the following evening, Thursday, Apr. 11. For details, see the story on Page 8.

‘Disheartened’ by DOT

Richard Huber, a board member who is also a Glendale resident and businessman, expressed frustration that the Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving ahead with several traffic pattern changes in the area of the Cooper Avenue underpass over the objections he and other board members and community residents previously raised.

Huber blasted plans by the DOT to remove parking spaces near the underpass-currently in the midst of a retaining wall reconstruction project expected to be completed shortly-as well as the installation of a concrete island at the corner of Cooper Avenue and 74th Street and the conversion of 74th Street between Cooper and 78th avenues from a oneway street southbound to a one-way road northbound.

At previous meetings with the DOT, Huber noted, Glendale residents and board members charged that the traffic pattern changes would ultimately lead to greater congestion on nearby roads and make it more difficult for businesses to receive deliveries. More than a year after those concerns were voiced and alternate ideas were suggested, he added, the DOT presented updated plans in which little was changed.

“They did nothing,” he said. “All of the safety concerns were not addressed.”

Huber claimed he spoke with contractors on the site who told him they would probably be back here in two years “to fix all of these things.”

“Not one of our recommendations were taken,” Huber added, stating that “it’s very disheartening” that appeals by the board and Glendale residents to change the plans went unheeded.

District Manager Gary Giordano, however, noted the DOT did adjust its plans slightly based on recommendations offered by the board. The agency scrapped proposals to expand a traffic island and build an additional concrete island at the corner of Cooper Avenue, Central Avenue and 73rd Place.

Fern Weinreich of the Department of Design and Construction, which is working with the DOT on the Cooper Avenue underpass reconstruction project, indicated she would reach out to the DOT to arrange another meeting with Board 5 members about their concerns.

Board passes gas line resolution

Following a spirited debate among members, the board approved a recommendation from its Environmental Services Committee requesting that natural gas being fed through the Spectra pipeline between Pennsylvania and NewYork City be tested for high levels of radon gas.

Committee Chairperson Brian Dooley cited reports from the U.S. Geological Survey and other sources which indicated that natural gas tapped from the Marcellus Shale and shipped through the pipeline may contain high levels of radon-222, a radioactive and carcinogenic gas which is naturally found within the subterranean shale.

In its recommendation, as read by Dooley, the committee requested that radon testing be conducted on natural gas fed through the Spectra pipeline-and any gas found to contain levels of radon higher than safety standards of two picocuries per liter not be imported into New York City.

Several board members, however, dispute the claims of the amount of radon in natural gas shipped through the pipeline. Manny Caruana claimed that there was little to no risk to residents of exposure since the natural gas must first go through a processing center rather than directly into residences.

Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri added that the same U.S. Geological Survey also indicated in parts that the levels of radon gas dissipated as the natural gas was delivered: “There’s a lot of doubt in the accuracy of the facts.”

Supporters of the measure, however, argued that there was no harm in testing the natural gas for high levels of radon. Board member Fred Haller stated that radon running through the pipeline runs the risk of bring the harmful gas to New York City and Long Island, a region where radon levels are virtually nonexistent.

New members

Two new members of Board 5 were introduced byArcuri and Kathy Moore of Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s office: Jean Tanler, a member of the Maspeth Industrial Business Zone; and Mercy Wong, an architect from Ridgewood.

Arcuri noted that they replace two departed members: Sylvia Nappi, who resigned; and Michael Hetzer, who was not reappointed. The board continues to have a full complement of 50 members, the chairperson added.

Other news

Giordano noted that the DOT has in place a tentative list of streets to be resurfaced around Board 5’s confines later this year. The board is currently compiling a list of streets it would like resurfaced next year, and is asking the public to offer their suggested locations.

The district manager added that he is asking the DOT to perform nighttime resurfacing work on streets in the West Maspeth industrial area which are in need of a new coat of pavement. Giordano stated he is also pursuing nighttime resurfacing along Grand Avenue in Maspeth between 47th and 61st streets and between 64th Street and the Long Island Expressway.

Bret Herman announced tentative plans for an art and music festival to be held at an industrial site on the Ridgewood/Maspeth border later this spring. The event-which Arcuri stated would likely be held at the Quadrozzi Concrete parking lot off the intersection of Metropolitan and Woodward avenues-would feature large art displays and a gathering of food trucks.

Herman stated the group hopes to attract 1,000 visitors to the festival. All of the events would take place on the weekend within the parking lot, and no street closures would be required.

Two candidates for public office also stopped by to talk with board members and residents during the public forum.

Former City Council Member Melinda Katz, who is running for Queens borough president, offered greetings and expressed support for all community boards, stating her hope that proposed cuts to board operations in the preliminary budget would be avoided.

Middle Village resident Craig Caruana, a candidate for the 30th City Council District seat held by Crowley, introduced himself to residents and provided background. He stated he would advocate for greater discretionary funds for the district and boost the office’s service to constituents.

Caruana also made a similar address while attending last Thursday’s joint meeting of the Glendale Property Owners Association and the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol.

Demolition notice

Arcuri announced that the board recently received a demolition notice for a property at 85-19 60th Ave. in Middle Village. Board members were advised to keep a careful eye on construction activities around their community and to report any questionable work.

Liquor licenses

The advisory body has also received the following liquor license applications for its perusal:

– New liquor licenses for El Manaba Restaurant Corp., located at 341 St. Nicholas Ave., Unit 5, in Ridgewood (formerly the Latino Ranch); and Bleachers 67 Inc., located at 67- 14 Forest Ave. in Ridgewood (formerly Café del Mar).

– Liquor license renewals for Serbian Association of NY, located at 72-54 65th Pl. in Glendale; and Brinker Restaurant Corporation, d.b.a. Chili’s Grill & Bar, located at 80-16 Cooper Ave. (The Shops at Atlas Park) in Glendale.

– New wine and/or beer licenses for George Coffee Shop Ceci LLC, located at 785 Fairview Ave. in Ridgewood (formerly Tirana Coffee Shop); and JK Foods Inc., d.b.a. Gyro-village, located at 66-57 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood.

– Wine and/or beer license renewals for M&A Deli Grocery, located at 69-20 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood; 5526 69th Street Pizza Corp., d.b.a. Rosa’s Pizzeria, located at 55-26 69th St. in Maspeth; Corato I Pizza & Restaurant Corp., located at 66-94 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood; Super Pollo Restaurant Inc., located at 865 Woodward Ave. in Ridgewood; and Little Havana Cigar Company Inc., located at 63-10 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park.

Those wishing to comment on any of the above applications may do so by calling Board 5 at the number listed at the end of this article.

The next Community Board 5 meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday night, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Regional High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village. For more information, call the board’s Glendale office at 1-718-366-1834.

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