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Ferry Pt., Pel. Bay parks’ comfort stations funded

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No more sneaking into the woods. No more dirty diapers. No more mess. A year from now, Ferry Point Park and Pelham Bay Park will boast new restrooms.

This summer, the Department of Parks will begin construction on an 800-square foot comfort station in Ferry Point Park West. It will house a men’s and a women’s restroom.

The Department of Environmental Protection has allocated $1.8 million in Croton mitigation funds. The comfort station will be located next to the park’s ball fields. Construction will run through next summer.

Dorothea Poggi, a Ferry Point resident, is “thrilled.” For years, her Friends of Ferry Point Park volunteers have used the woods and an MTA bathroom by the Bronx Whitestone Bridge.

According to Poggi, some 5,000 to 8,000 soccer players and spectators use the park’s ball fields every warm-weather weekend. Two years ago, the Parks Department rented “Port-o-Sans.” Last year, Ferry Point’s soccer leagues footed the bill.

“We desperately need restrooms,” Poggi said. “A group of kayakers from Long Island volunteered. We had no restroom. It was embarrassi­ng.”

Community Board 10 has suggested cost-saving measures. According to district manager Ken Kearns, the Parks Department plans to pipe water in from a city main.

“What are they building with $1.8 million? Roman baths?” Kearns quipped. “We have asked the Parks Department to seek alternatives like composting. The board isn’t critical, but these are times of fiscal constraint.”

Also this summer, the Parks Department will begin construction on an 800-square foot comfort station in Ferry Point Park East. Like Ferry Point Park West, Ferry Point Park East has no restrooms. Construction will run into next summer. The comfort station will house a restroom and storage room. Bloomberg has allocated $1.5 million.

Finally, the Parks Department will begin renovations on an existing nature center/comfort station in Pelham Bay Park South. The one-story, 2,750-square foot facility hosts educational programs. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has allocated $1.4 million. The project will take a year.

The Warrior Football Club plays at Rice Stadium in Pelham Bay Park South. Years ago, the Warriors asked for a new comfort station near the stadium and parking lot.

Every Saturday, from August to September, hundreds of Warriors do battle. They use a comfort station near Pelham Bay Park’s all-ages playground, some 200 yards away.

“We need restrooms by the field,” club administrator Jim Pellicone said. “It’s tough for the little kids to walk all that way.”

The Warriors range from five to 14 years old. According to Pellicone, the playground comfort station is very small. On the men’s side it contains one toilet, no urinal.

Three years ago, then Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. offered $50,000 for a new comfort station/locker room, Warriors Football director Jerry Demers said. A Parks Department designer visited the stadium. Somehow, that project fell through.

“I worry about the older people,” Demers said. “From the field to the restrooms it’s a hike.”

The Parks Department is currently renovating a comfort station at the Pearly Gates Playground on St. Peters Avenue, thanks in part to funding from Councilmembers James Vacca and Annabel Palma, Vacca said.

Updated 5:24 pm, October 21, 2011
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