Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Parks' messed up priorities

From the Daily News:

The city put in a $500,000 dog run. But no facility for people to run to when nature calls.

Last week, I walked east from Utopia Parkway through gorgeous, 50-acre Little Bay Park - sandwiched along the Cross Island Parkway between the Throgs Neck Bridge and Fort Totten - as the sun spilled out of a baby blue sky. Joggers panted past. Bicyclists zoomed. Walkers nodded in the crisp fall morning. I was putting in a few miles of my own when nature called.

I looked around for a rest room.

I saw a lumpy Little League field where my son sometimes plays ball and remembered there was never a rest room here. I did see six workers putting the finishing touches on a state-of-the-art dog run near the Utopia Parkway exit of the Cross Island that will open next month. The dog run has a water supply, one fenced area for large dogs, another for smaller dogs, and a third for all dogs to mingle, beautifully landscaped, with a place for dogs to relieve themselves.

I walked toward two men talking. One guy looked like he was in charge.

"...Where's the rest room for people?" I asked.

"There isn't one," he said. "There's Porta Potties at the other end of the park."


I always suspected the city was going to the dogs. Now I had verification. Here was a brand-new, half-million-dollar dog run in one of the most scenic parks in the city, but no dignified place for human beings, taxpayers, to relieve themselves while on a morning stroll, jog or pedal.

Turns out that back on July 12, 2005, then-local Councilman Tony Avella announced that he had secured $1.3 million to build rest rooms in Little Bay Park and another $500,000 for a dog run. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe was on hand, saying, "We have a saying in the Parks Department. If you would forgive me, it is, 'Our business is to help New Yorkers do their business.' "


But in Little Bay Park, we've been holding in our "business" for five years, guys.

I called Avella, now running for state Senate against incumbent Frank Padavan.

"I'm disgusted," Avella says. "I earmarked that money in 2005. Then Rep. Gary Ackerman secured federal money to expand the parking lot. Parks delayed the bathrooms until the parking lot expansion was completed."

But the short delay stretched into years. Avella says he demanded an explanation from the Parks Department.

"They told me that the state Department of Environmental Conservation froze the project because the planned rest rooms area was considered protected wetlands. Parks never told me so I could intervene. Instead, they let the issue lay there awaiting an approval letter from DEC."

The earliest construction on these rest rooms could begin is 2011.

"And that $1.3 million will be insufficient because costs will have dramatically risen in six years," Avella says. "So now they'll need additional funding, which means more delays. It's an outrage."

And that's why so far all we have in Little Bay Park is a $500,000 dog run in a city that is literally going to the dogs.

Here's more.


Anonymous said...

is not democrat/progressive dictatorship a grand pisser?

Babs said...

There is a restroom in the marina that everyone uses BTW -

ALSO - $500,000 for the dog run!!!??? Whose brother-in-law got that job? Should have cost $25,000 TOPS from the looks of it. All that I see that had to be done was to create more of a level ground - add gravel and fence it in. Un-friggin'-believable.

Ms. Havisham said...

And the city STILL does NOTHING to improve the city's ballfields and not leave it to the local baseball leagues. I can't think of one ballfield that has lights. This mayor is a pompous piece of crap....he'll install a dog run or a bike lane before he'd pay attention to one of our middle class children.

Smarter than Babs said...

Babs said...
There is a restroom in the marina that everyone uses BTW -

Babs, you brainless twit, have you any idea how far it is from the dog run/ball field to the marina? Approximately 1.7 miles. That's a long way to walk to take a piss or a dump while your kid is playing baseball. Do you leave your kid and wander off on a nearly 3.5 mile walk while you have to pee? I don't.

From the parking lot at Fort Totten's entrance to the marina is approximately 1.3 miles. Unacceptable. And, I'm not using a porta potty, nor is my 4 year old.

Let us not forget that the marina is closed during the winter. Where, dear Babs, do you propose we piss then? Do we just drop trou and piss in the wind? Your empty brain cavity?

I'd like to add that there was already a dog run in that location. Has been for years. Rarely is a dog seen in it, so I have no clue why it needed such an improvement.

JO said...

how the hell does it cost 1.3 million to make a bathroom?? Who are they hiring?? I've seen lifestyles of the rich and famous, not one would have a bathroom that costs 1.3 million.

FlooshingRezident said...

...I walked east from Utopia Parkway through gorgeous, 50-acre Little Bay Park...

Guess the author of this has never been out of Queens. There's nothing gorgeous about that park. It's little more than a litter-strewn construction site, replete with muddy lakes and a garbage-ridden beach.

The dog park is a joke. Check out Marymoor in Redmond, WA. Acres and acres beautifully maintained. People even VOLUNTEER to pick up garbage and do landscaping!

Anonymous said...

Perfect example why less government is the best government. Reagan was right!

Anonymous said...

Same can be said about the lack of restrooms at Flushing Meadows Park, I frequent the north side near the tennis courts while walking my dog.

Thankfully there are a lot of trees and bushes there to go to when nature calls.

Peter said...

Dog owners tend to be pretty well organized to lobby for their needs. If you're not organizing at least as well as they are, then your concerns aren't going to go to the front of the line. Simple as that.

And as for why it cost so much? My uninformed first-blush guess is drainage, compounded by the fact that it's a very large area.

velvethead said...

For a half a mil, it should be called a "Canine Promenade".

ConcernedQNZ said...

An upgraded dog run wasn't needed. That's first of all.

The bathroom at the Marina is nice.. too bad its closed from Oct/Nov until May.

A bathroom building cost at least one million alone (that's factual)... guess people priorities weren't right tending to a dog run before considering a bathroom for all the kids who play soccer there on weekends.

Anonymous said...

Whip it out when duty calls!