By Naeisha Rose
State Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (D-Flushing) and state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) announced Monday that they have introduced a bill to rehabilitate Lefferts Boulevard Bridge.
Before the bill can move forward, the Metropolitan Transit Authority must conduct a study to explore the feasibility of restoring the Kew Gardens structure between Austin and Grenfell streets. The bridge is still in use.
The Long Island Rail Road bridge was built 90 years ago and has become unsafe for residents and the surrounding 12 businesses, according to the lawmakers.
For years, the community has complained about the lack of maintenance surrounding the infrastructure.
Zee N Kay Management LLC, the company that is supposed to maintain the LIRR bridge, may not have its contract renewed. That could leave the future of the bridge up in the air, according to the pols.
Residents do not want the bridge to be demolished or fall into the hands of developers.
“The MTA has been an irresponsible landlord and is now asking the community to bear the consequences,” said Rosenthal. “Despite years of complaints raised by our residents, nothing was done to address the hazardous disrepair at this location. Our legislation ensures that our community does not bear the burden for decades of neglect.”
Comrie agreed with Rosenthal and is calling for action.
“Years of delinquency have brought us to this critical juncture,” said Comrie. “I stand united with the business owners, residents of Kew Gardens, community advocates, Assembly member Rosenthal.”
Dominick Pistone, the resident of the Kew Gardens Civic Association, said it was about time somebody did something about the perilous bridge.
“Our elected officials understand the importance of this issue to the Kew Gardens community and to keeping the neighborhood livable and desirable,” said Pistone. “We hope the MTA/LIRR will recognize that keeping the stores and restoring the bridges is important to us. We look forward to working with them.”
If the bill becomes law, findings in the study would have to go to the state Legislature, the mayor and the governor by March 2019.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose