RFP Issued for Queens Seawall Repairs Maloney, Queens Leaders Applaud Parks Department for Beginning the Repair Process
Kew Gardens, NY – U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D Queens, Manhattan); Queens Borough President Helen Marshall; representatives of the offices of Senator Michael Gianaris, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, and other elected officials; and Bishop Mitchell Taylor met this week with Parks Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe and other officials to press for expedited repairs to the Queens Seawall.
At the meeting, Commissioner Benepe announced that the Parks Department is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) today to begin the process of repairing the seawall. The RFP solicits proposals for testing the site to determine the extent to which there are contaminants in the soil. Testing should begin in late June and will take 12 weeks to complete. The bid-winning contractor will be required to take samples of the soil at various depths and of ground water. These samples will be submitted to an independent laboratory for analysis. The contract also calls for a review of findings and the issuance of a final report. The report will specify the legal and recommended disposal means when mitigating contamination and restoring the shoreline and the seawall.
Stalled for more than a decade, the project has begun to move forward as Maloney, local elected officials, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Mayor’s office, and the Parks Department joined together in February to create a Queens Seawall Task Force and have jointly resolved to make this project a top priority.
“This RFP is the first step toward finally rebuilding the crumbling Queens Seawall. I am so pleased that Commissioner Benepe and his team at the Parks Department have taken the lead on rebuilding the seawall and will soon begin the environmental testing required to move the project forward,” Rep. Maloney said. “The Queens Seawall is a disaster waiting to happen. At long last, we are making progress on this project and I look forward to working with the city to complete these long overdue repairs as soon as possible.”
“We are very pleased that we are finally able to undertake necessary testing within Queensbridge Park, which is the first important step towards the reconstruction of the park's seawall,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Thanks to the leadership of Congresswoman Maloney and Borough President Helen Marshall who are working with local elected officials, we believe we will soon be in a position to reconstruct the seawall so that local residents can enjoy access to their waterfront. This important project could not have moved forward without the help of our city, state, and federal partners.”
“The meeting at Queens Borough Hall earlier this week was a frank and productive one that shored-up support for the repairs needed for the seawall in western Queens. It was a solid example of what can happen when our federal, state and city officials work with local government to fix a longstanding community problem that had no resolution for more than ten years. Thanks, especially, to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her leadership and the federal dollars she has secured for this much-needed restoration,” said Borough President Marshall.
"The Queensbridge Seawall is in desperate need of repair and must receive attention immediately. I commend Congresswoman Maloney for her dogged efforts to see this through and look forward to continuing our work with her and the Queensbridge Seawall Task Force until this project is completed," said Senator Gianaris.
“The Request for Proposals is an important first step to ensure the Seawall is repaired and restored for the community to use the waterfront. For over a decade, the Seawall repairs have been stalled, potentially creating a significant threat to public safety. I will continue to work with the Parks Department and Congresswoman Maloney to ensure this project is completed,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
“I am so pleased to see that the Parks Department is moving forward on repairing the Queens Seawall, considering that the residents of Queensbridge Houses have waited almost two decades for their access to the waterfront to be restored and for this potential crisis to be averted,” said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, President and Founder of the East River Development Alliance. “Thank you to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and the members of Queens Seawall Task Force for making sure that this critical issue is no longer neglected.”
A 200 foot portion of the seawall on the East River in Queensbridge Park has completely failed, and experts are warning of further deterioration along the waterfront near Queensbridge Houses, the nation's largest public housing development. For safety reasons, the Parks Department fenced off the area around the seawall, eliminating local residents’ access to the waterfront. In addition, there are critical MTA-owned cathodic protection devices located under the seawall that are endangered by the seawall’s deterioration. Because of these devices, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) deemed the repair of the seawall to be in the federal interest. That designation made this project eligible for federal funds. While Congresswoman Maloney was able to obtain four separate appropriations totaling $550,000 to pay for a feasibility study to be conducted by the ACE, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan obtained $325,000 in state funds and local officials provided $250,000 in city funds, the City decided not to use the ACE, but to do the work itself. It is expected that the Parks Department will perform the remediation, and the NYC Department of Transportation will satisfy environmental mitigation obligations by doing the restoration work.