Park partially complete after decade-long wait

By Eric Jankiewicz

The long overdue completion of Little Bay Park’s comfort station was announced last Friday, even if visitors had to use portable toilets because the comfort station wasn’t actually complete.

“I’m happy to be here, but how long will it be before we come back for the opening of the comfort station?” state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said on a sunny afternoon, standing on the freshly paved parking lot.

The park sits just at the entrance of Fort Totten, where it was announced that a fireworks show would be held for the first time July 1. The new parking lot is part of a decade-long project that is now partially complete. Over the years, the city has postponed the completion date several times and most recently the Parks Department had set the date for this fall.

But with the fireworks show scheduled for July 1, officials pushed construction through so that there would be parking space for the large crowds that officials are expecting for the show.

The plans had originally called for a 100-space lot, but it will now be able to hold 224 vehicles.

“Every now and then you have to bark and bite, but look at what it’s led to finally,” said Vallone, who attended the opening ceremony at Little Bay Park, which is named for the bay that it faces

Avella and former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman secured millions of dollars in 2004 to install bathrooms and expand the parking lot. Ackerman’s seat is now held by U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Melville), .

And while the money was set aside at that time, the Parks Department did not break ground until 2013 and everything was supposed to be ready by the fall of 2014. When that deadline was missed, a Parks spokeswoman said the park would be complete by this spring. And that deadline was also missed.

“I’m waiting desperately for the comfort station to be open,” Avella said. He also noted that as Queens begins to get its share of the spotlight, more people will be visiting the borough’s parks.

“So many people are using this park. It has certainly been discovered,” he said.

Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at ejankiewicz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.