I’ve been a Community Construction Liaison since 2000. Before that, I was a community activist and a business owner here on Staten Island. In the last 19 years, I’ve worked on a number of DDC projects. For every job, I’m out in the community, building public awareness. It’s my responsibility to let people know about progress and to communicate any problems. The work is different each day.
The first thing I do each morning is check for concerns and complaints. Working with the resident engineer, I’ll do whatever I have to do to resolve the problem. Next, I go out to the site. I walk the block we’re working on to get an update and talk to people. I like to explain what is going on and answer questions. Today on this block they are connecting residences to the new sanitary sewer, getting people on the improved line, one house at a time. Just one of the calls I got today was a resident who needs to get moving trucks into the project area, which I coordinated to make sure it doesn’t interrupt work. I also got a call about an upcoming block party, but I confirmed that we will be out of the area by the time the celebration is scheduled.
We’re starting storm sewers a block over next week, so I prepared the community advisories that inform people of what’s happening. We give out 72-hour notices to let people know and follow those up with 24-hour notices. I was out today knocking on doors to prepare them for the coming work. If people weren’t home, I left a notice with my phone number so they can call with any concerns. I also had a meeting with the Community Board and another with the Council Member’s office to give updates. And I’m working on the next community newsletter, which goes out quarterly to update residents and businesses on the project’s progress.
Today I visited the firehouse and spoke with the captain. Later this summer, the project will disrupt traffic on a busy road. We’ll work with our partners at the Department of Transportation to do what is needed to make sure the fire trucks can get through and have room to turn. I also coordinated with the Department of Sanitation to make sure their trucks could get into the project area to pick up the garbage. And this afternoon we had a meeting with a nearby project to discuss how we are going to coordinate moving forward.
In my conversations with people, I try to get across that this project is for their benefit, it’s really for the public. Water mains in this area are almost 100 years old, the infrastructure really needs an upgrade. But we have to explain all that, because otherwise residents only see the disruptions. I try to talk to as many people as I can in person to explain what we’re doing and how long we’ll be working. Today I had to coordinate with the contractor so a resident with a sick child could have access to parking. We’re here to manage special needs without disrupting the work.
Work on this particular street is almost finished, but calls are coming in as the work wraps up. I had a few requests to coordinate today. One of the concerns is about storage space. We try to store items in the best place possible, but they also have to be near the construction site so the crews have access to materials. We do keep a careful log of all our calls and complaints. I also updated the bulletin that gets distributed to residents every Friday afternoon to update them on the work occurring the following week. We do our best to keep people informed as things progress and change.
DDC thanks all the Community Construction Liaisons working hard in neighborhoods around the city.