The state is allotting $7 million to fund the local projects after the city was fined $10 million in 2008 for missing the deadline to do an upgrade that would have met the state standards on Greenpoint’s wastewater treatment plant.
In recent months, community organizations submitted green projects that they felt would benefit their respective communities and in October, the list was narrowed down from 45 to 22.
Voting was held on Wednesday at the Queens Library in Court Square and Thursday at P.S. 34 on Norman Avenue. Residents were offered a chance to vote on five projects of their choice that they would like to see implemented. For each project selected, three important considerations were listed, which participants were told to rate in order of most to least important.
The considerations, which were chosen by community participants at earlier meetings, asked voters how important public or waterfront access is, if it would create physical improvement to the community, and leverage additional funds.
“The communities are really interested in these projects,” said David Rivel, executive director of the foundation.
Projects include the $5 million Greenpoint Boathouse and Environmental Education Center creating accessible open space and access to the waterway at 1155 Manhattan Avenue, and the $3 million Dutch Kills Basin Acquisition on 47th Avenue that will provide stormwater management and community facilities including a park with an athletic field.
Students from the nearby Bard High School Early College in LIC, who currently don’t have a field for recreation, came out on Wednesday to vote for the basin.
Other projects include a $200,000 fund for materials for the Queens Library and Cultural Center at Hunters Point, a $2.4 million biosculpture project at North Henry Street, a $2 million Wetlands Rehabilitation along the Newtown Creek bulkheads and the creation of a new park set to cost $8.5 million at the privately owned Saint Saviour’s site at Rust and 58th streets in Maspeth.
For Helen Prymus of Maspeth, the Saint Saviour’s site is her number one concern although she feels each project has its own significance.
“We need a park; it’s an industrial area and we thought they’d put a warehouse there with trucks and we really don’t need that. A lot of children need a place to play,” she said.
Additional projects include a skate park whose location is yet to be determined, the West Street Greenway Project which will focus on stormwater management and the pedestrian and bike bridge study of the Pulaski bridge to increase space for pedestrians and cyclists, set to cost $1 million.
“It’s such an easy solution. I almost wish they wouldn’t do a study but just do it,” said Eliza Proctor of Williamsburg regarding the bridge study.
Other voters at PS 34 also expressed interest in the study, as it would increase bike and pedestrian access between both boroughs and provide more safety. The Department of Transportation is already prepared to undertake the study.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is set to give the final greenlight on the chosen project.
The votes will be weighed heavily, but Rivel said that there are a variety of things the DEC will be looking at, such as how far away from the Newtown Creek wastewater treatment plant the project is to ensure that it benefits residents within a half-mile radius of the plant.
In terms of funds, Rivel said they will be allocated depending on which project is chosen. “It can be 100 percent to Queens or Brooklyn or anything in between.”
The City Parks Foundation will tally up the votes and submit them to the state at the end of this month. Rivel estimates that it will take 60 days for the DEC to make the final decision.