City Island may see freshwater main and storm sewer upgrades

The blue line shows where the freshwater main will travel under Eastchester Bay to City Island, not far from the City Island Bridge.
Photo courtesy of the Department of Design and Construction

If the NYC Department of Design and Construction is able to complete a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure action successfully, City Island may get antiquated water mains and sewers replaced with new, modern ones.

DDC made a request to use underwater parcels of private land, both for a new freshwater connection near the City Island Bridge at the unmapped Kilroe Street, and also for the creation of new storm sewers for streets on the northern side of the island, reducing chances of flooding.

During a public hearing held as part of Community Board 10’s Housing and Zoning Committee on Thursday, May 14, island residents got to voice their concerns. After the hearing, the committee voted to support the project unanimously.

“The ULURP action is critical to our efforts and is required to obtain an easement for these infrastructure improvements,” said a DDC spokesman. “They will permit access to the sites by our client, the Department of Environmental Protection, should any maintenance or repair be necessary.”

During the public hearing, a representative from the City Island Garden Club was told that every effort will be made to protect the roots of a memorial tree known as ‘Brotherhood Tree,’ which is near the path of the planned new freshwater connection.

The project’s first phase calls for the installation of two 20-inch diameter water mains in the first phase, with construction to begin in the fall 2016 and to be completed in fall 2017.

The second part of the project calls for new storm water connection sewers for north City Island around Minnieford Avenue, with a new 48-inch wide outfall from Minnieford to Eachchester Bay.

Work on phase two is tentatively scheduled to being in the summer of 2019 and be completed the following year.

City Island Civic Association board member and CB 10 Parks Committee chairwoman Virginia Gallagher said that the Brotherhood Tree has special significance to the island. It was planted for two of its religious leaders in the 1960s as part of a celebration that used to take place on the island for years.

However, the needs for clean drinking water and better infrastructure are very important, she indicated.

“The most important thing is that fresh water will be coming through Pelham Bay Park and go under the water and then come up near the bridge, up to the street again,” said Gallagher.

The fresh water mains servicing the island were likely built in the early 1930s, she said, and could use an upgrade.

The island’s population has grown since the 1930s, and Gallagher said there is also increased water usage since the 1960s in nearby Pelham Bay Park at newer facilities like the Rodman’s Neck firing range, a golf driving range, and ballfields that did not exist when the island’s first fresh water connection was made.

John Doyle, City Island Civic Association’s corresponding secretary, said that many on the island feel that new storm sewers on the north end are a much needed improvement, and do not want to see the project tied up.

Both the fresh water connection and the storm sewers are part of the same ULURP, a process through which decisions affecting the land use of the city are opened to public comment.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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