2004-11-26 / Front Page

Chamber Hires Tribute Park Coordinator

By Brian Magoolaghan

Dan Mundy, Tribute Park’s Project Coordinator, inspects the cement finishing work on a wall separating the park from Duane Reade.  
Dan Mundy, Tribute Park’s Project Coordinator, inspects the cement finishing work on a wall separating the park from Duane Reade. The Chamber of Commerce has hired a respected environmental activist – who has worked in tandem with government agencies before and is experienced in permit procedure – to coordinate the completion of the Tribute Park project.

In what could be the most significant development since the departure of Liz Sulik, who nurtured the park during its early stages, Dan Mundy has been brought in as Project Coordinator, Chamber President John Lepore told The Wave this week. Mundy is the only person hired specifically for the project.

Readers will recall that Mundy, a retired New York City Fire Department Captain, is a founding member of the Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers. His group helped during the mid 90s to document marsh loss, helped raise awareness of the issue and, more recently, garnered Congressional support for remediation efforts. He has also played a role, through negotiations with elected officials and two city agencies, in trying to protect several small lots in Broad Channel from private sale and development.

Artist Patrick Clark has often called for a similar move and Lepore said the Chamber has been interested in hiring a coordinator for about a year, but decided it wouldn’t make sense until there was light at the end of the tunnel. “We’re getting close to the end,” Lepore said optimistically.

Mundy’s job, Lepore added, will be to coordinate and directly oversee the culmination of the work that has already gone into the project – and the actual construction of the much-anticipated, oft-delayed park.

Mundy, sounding reserved during just his second week on the job, said he spent the last seven days familiarizing himself with the details of the project and deciding what could be accomplished despite the annual slow-down that surrounds the holidays and the delays caused by uncooperative winter weather. “This is becoming my new Number One priority,” Mundy said from his Broad Channel home Monday morning.

While both men agreed that Department of Parks and Recreation contractors and featured artist Patrick Clark would not be able to complete their major contributions until late winter/ early spring, Mundy said he’s been coordinating other work that has to be finished before Parks or Clark step in.

During a tour of the site on Tuesday, Mundy pointed to each area of the park, described the design elements and noted who would be responsible. Work to surface the 200-foot wall separating the park from the Duane Reade parking lot had stalled, perhaps because rain seemed imminent, and Mundy, who had been at the site since the start of the workday, was getting to the bottom of it. Part of his job, he said, will be “keeping after contractors.”

Mundy first became involved with Tribute Park when he was approached, because of his reputation as the local go-to guy with regard to waterfront permit issues, to help with the those needed to construct the rock revetment, a critical structural element designed to keep the park separate from Jamaica Bay.

“Dan is the ideal guy. He’s familiar with the waterfront, familiar with the agencies, and he’s the guy who can see this through,” Lepore said. As for a completion date, he would only say sometime this spring.

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