City Islanders are hoping that a capital project at the southernmost tip of the seaside island will get underway sooner, rather than later.
A long-planned pocket park at Belden Point, where City Island Avenue meets the Long Island Sound, still has not started eventhough NYC Parks Department told the City Island Civic Association that construction was to begin by early summer, assoiciation officials claim.
The CICA wrote a letter to Department of Parks and Recreation commissioner Mitchell Silver dated Wednesday, December 17 expressing dismay about “many false starts” despite the efforts of the civic, the City Island Chamber of Commerce, the borough president’s office, and Senator Jeff Klein.
“We were told this project would start early June and nothing materialized,” stated the CICA in the letter to Parks. “Since that time there has been no new start date for mobilization; the project is still not registered on your website; and the contact we were given has been unresponsive.”
The islanders are concerned that since funding is on the line from the city, and was procured by Senator Klein, that the construction should get underway soon, before the funding evaporates.
“We are irritated, we don’t know what is happening to it, and we don’t want this to go away,” said Barbara Dolensek, CICA second vice president. “The two restaurants on either side have agreed to take maintain it, so there is nothing to stand in the way.”
The project will be sandwiched between Johnny’s Reef and Tony’s Pier, looking over Long Island Sound, next to the dead end traffic turnaround for City Island Avenue.
In response to the most recent CICA inquiry, the Parks Department has set spring 2015 as the new start dat.
“The design will define a vehicular turn around with an 18-inch-wide curb with bollards (vertical posts),” stated a Parks spokeswoman. “A planting bed will be added to provide shade and enhance the waterfront views. The design will provide a decorative pavement, a landscaped area, street trees, benches, decorative trash cans, and a bicycle rack. A new sea rail will replace the existing chain link fence.”
The Parks spokeswoman said that “the street-end plaza will address the need for public visual and pedestrian access to the southern point of City Island by improving the end of City Island Avenue.”
The area where the park is planned currently has a dilapidated dock structure, and has also seen graffiti vandalism and dumping of trash in the past.
A park at Belden Point, with a seaside promenade, would complement one on the northern end of the island near the City Island Bridge, state Dolensek.
Klein said he shares the concerns of the islanders.
“We share in the frustration with City Island residents on the setbacks of this project,” he said.
“Construction and groundbreaking on Belden Point Park is long overdue. To expedite this effort, I have written a letter to the Parks and Recreation Department, urging them to make this project a priority and to begin construction early this spring. It’s my hope that under a new administration, Belden Point will become a valued destination for residents and their families, local visitors and tourists alike.”