On the eve of LL Cool J’s 14th annual basketball camp in St. Albans, elected officials from southeast Queens and Comptroller Scott Stringer blasted the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation at a news conference for failing to fix a comfort station for three years.
“It’s time to wake up and get your act together,” Stringer said. “The kids should be running through the sprinkler and they should be able to use the bathroom in the safest way possible.”
According to officials from LL Cool J’s free basketball camp, nearly 200 campers are expected to attend the camp every weekend in August.
The comfort station, which is located on Daniel O’Connell Playground at 113-01 196th St., received nearly $1.2 million from former Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and was expected to break ground in August 2015, with the project’s estimated completion time August 2016, according to officials at the Aug. 3 news conference.
“I’m disappointed to be back here on the same issue,” said Comrie, now a state senator. “LL Cool J, who grew up in this community and played in this park – this is his 14th year providing a free program for an entire month for young people in the community — and we have to give them port-a-potties that are not maintained.”
The updated comfort station was supposed to be fully renovated and include ADA-compliant bathrooms, energy-efficient light fixtures, and a slate roof, according to the officials. Instead, there were problems with the vendor hired to do the upgrades in 2016, and in 2017 the contractor had been removed after more than $400,000 of the original contract was spent. According to NYC Park’s Capital Project Tracker, money was spent on designing a new comfort station, procuring materials and doing 38 percent of construction work.