August 13, 2018
Jamaica, NY – NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo today announced the completion of a $14.5 million project that rebuilt streets along the east side of Baisley Pond Park, bringing storm sewers, sidewalks and other new infrastructure to an area that had long suffered from localized flooding and poor street conditions.
The project, which began in winter 2016 and was completed in June, is part of the City’s $1.9 billion investment to reduce flooding and improve street conditions in southeast Queens. The program, which consists of approximately 45 total infrastructure projects to be completed over the next 10 years, is the largest of its kind in the City.
More than 4,700 feet of new storm sewers were installed in the project area, ranging in size from 12 to 42 inches, along with 50 new catch basins to direct stormwater to the new sewers. Over 26,000 square feet of new sidewalk was installed at the edge of the park along with 4,000 feet of new curb. An additional 15,230 square feet of existing sidewalk and 2,350 feet of curb was replaced throughout the area.
The new local network of storm sewers drains into Baisley Pond through a new stone-faced reinforced concrete headwall with a 42-inch outfall. In addition to the headwall, the project included erosion and sedimentation control measures in Baisley Pond and over 5,000 square feet of wet and dry plantings and seeding, including species such as switchgrass, little bluestem and various wild flowers.
“Mayor de Blasio made the historic commitment of $1.9 billion to improve drainage and reduce flooding in southeast Queens and residents and businesses are now beginning to see the results of that work,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Working with our partners at DDC, block by block we are building out a drainage system that will provide some peace of mind to the people in Jamaica and all the neighborhoods in southeast Queens.”
“DDC is working with DEP to manage almost $2 billion worth of street improvement projects as part of the City’s massive Southeast Queens initiative,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “These investments are making a real difference in people’s lives, securing their property, bringing them peace of mind and beautifying their neighborhoods. Queens residents have had overwhelmingly positive reactions to these projects.”
The project also installed 815 feet of new sanitary sewers and replaced 125 feet of existing sanitary sewers. More than 4,470 feet of older water mains were replaced, 11 new fire hydrants were added and three existing fire hydrants were upgraded to new ones.
“The storm sewers and infrastructure on the east side of Baisley Pond Park have been significantly upgraded thanks to this $14.5 million investment which will help to alleviate flooding,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “This project is an example of the quality of life improvements that our community needs. I would like to thank DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo for their leadership on this important infrastructure project and look forward to the relief it will bring residents.”
“Now that this project is completed it’s beautiful and the people there are very, very happy,” said Assembly Member Vivian E. Cook. “The park is really gorgeous too. This project was long overdue, and I worked for years for both this and work on nearby Long Street. It turned out very nicely.”
Junior and Verness Forbes have lived on Lakeview Boulevard near Baisley Pond Park since 1982. Before the project their basement would flood five or six times a year, and they would follow New York City weather reports while they were on vacation because they were concerned about their property.
“We have not had any kind of improvement in this area for 40 years,” said Verness Forbes. “My son and daughter grew up not being able to come outside in their school uniforms without being splashed by water in the street. If it rained for five minutes this whole place would be flooded, and the water would stay around for three or four days.”
“It got so bad that in order to avoid the water in the street the cars would drive up on the sidewalk in front of our house,” said Junior Forbes. “We’ve replaced our fence several times. Three or four cars a year would crash into it.”
“The ducks used to leave the park and be in the street because they couldn’t differentiate where the pond in the park ended and where the street began,” said Verness. “Now we have no problems. It’s been a total change, like night and day. I have photos of every part of the construction and the crews did massive amounts of work in a short time.”
“There was no sidewalk across the street,” said Junior. “Now when the water rises inside the park, the sidewalk and the grading holds it back and keeps it from overflowing toward our house. The work is great. The way we live now is totally different than before.”
Jacqueline Waal, Vice President of the Baisley Pond Park Block Association, grew up on Lakeview Boulevard and advocated strongly for improvements to the street.
“Lakeview has been full of potholes and uneven pavement all my life and it seemed as though nothing was being done about it,” she Ms. Waal. “We spoke to politicians like Vivian Cook and James Sanders and that got the process going. It was an incredible feeling to know someone was hearing and listening to us.
“We used to call it ‘The Lake’ in front of the Forbes house. Now the sewers are functioning and the flooding is gone. Now we want speed bumps and even a speed camera since with the new pavement people are driving faster.”
Two-year-old Harper Etheridge is a regular user of Baisley Pond Park. Her mother, Shenel Etheridge, says that the new sidewalks make it easier for her to access the park with her daughter.
“It’s a lot easier to get from my house to the park now, with fewer puddles and bumps,” said Ms. Etheridge. “And once we get to the park I don’t have to push Harper’s stroller through mud because there’s a new sidewalk. We’ve been coming here a long time and this is a big improvement.”
The contractor for the project was P&T II Contracting Corporation. DiFazio Industries was the subcontractor that performed work inside Baisley Pond Park.
DEP and DDC recently began work on another $62 million southeast Queens infrastructure project south of Baisley Boulevard.
About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $19.4 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.