2012-07-06 / Top Stories

State Funding Could Aid Decaying Bulkhead

By Nicholas Briano

The wall is listed in “critical” condition by the city, yet they will not provide the necessary funding to fix it. The wall is listed in “critical” condition by the city, yet they will not provide the necessary funding to fix it. At the end of 2011, State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder wrote a letter to Mayor Bloomberg requesting immediate attention to the New York Cityowned bulkhead across the street from the former MGP site.

That letter fell on deaf ears as the decaying bulkhead along Beach Channel Drive hasn’t been addressed nor has a future plan even been talked about to replace it.

This time, Goldfeder is asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to tap into the New York City Regional Economic Development Council’s funds to consider the National Grid MGP Plant site and bulkhead near Beach 108 Street a potential area to receive funding. Area officials were hoping the New York City fiscal year budget passed last week would have provided funding for the project, but it didn’t.

“The purpose of the NYC Regional Economic Development Council is to develop long term strategic plans for economic growth,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “There is no better project than the rebuilding of the bulkhead at Beach 108th Street and development of the MGP site to create jobs and spur real economic growth.”

Close to five years ago, the city invested millions of dollars to repair the same section of the wall that runs from Wainwright Court (the Rockaway Freeway turn) to Beach 108 Street encompassing more than 1,000 feet of barrier protection from Jamaica Bay. The bulkhead, however, is now rusted and rotting away.

In response to Goldfeder’s December 2011 letter, the city said that after an extensive study conducted by the NYCEDC, which recently surveyed the bay wall conditions from the Cross Bay Bridge to Riis Park, they agreed that it was in “critical” condition and needed repair. They also noted, however, that they were unable to provide funding for the repairs at this time.

“This particular section of the Rockaway bay wall needs immediate attention and repair,” Goldfeder continued. “We cannot take chances on the safety and protection of the Rockaway community.

National Grid has said that they will begin to consider reuse and redevelopment options for the site once the bulkhead is fixed and community members have presented various proposals.

I urge the governor to please consider the former MGP Plant site and bulkhead in the second round of funding for the Excelsior jobs program.”

The wall also serves as a barrier to potential contaminants from the former MGP site which is awaiting the bulkhead’s repair before they remediate the soil adjacent to the bulkhead. This is something, National Grid says, must happen in conjunction with the bulkhead repairs.

Karen Young, spokesperson from National Grid, spoke to The Wave two weeks ago and admitted that it’s been difficult to find common ground with the city.

“The only [portion of the project] not yet completed is a barrier wall adjacent to the current City of New York bulkhead,” Young said. “The City’s bulkhead must be replaced in conjunction with the installation of the barrier wall. The City and National Grid are working together to develop an appropriate solution for this complex problem.”

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