Bayside community leaders celebrate the opening of the new comfort station at Little Bay Park.
By Shane Miller
It was impossible not to notice the overwhelming sense of relief in Little Bay Park Thursday morning.
After 12 long years, the Parks Department officially opened the long-awaited comfort station in the Bayside park. It was such a long and arduous process, all community leaders were left to do was joke now that the bathrooms are finally open to the public.
State Senator Tony Avella, who first secured funding for the project when he was a City Council member, channeled his inner-David Letterman and gave his top three reasons for the long delay.
Number one? The Parks Department was hoping to delay the project long enough so they could name it the “Tony Avella Memorial Comfort Station.”
“If I have one word to describe this, it’s ‘finally,’” he said.
The reason for the delay is that the comfort station became tied up with the adjacent 204-space parking lot, which was a federal project. Eventually the state became involved as well, and the whole $6.7 million project became a bureaucratic mess.
The new comfort station is 800 square feet, and features a modern design with ventilation and heat, as well as being ADA accessible.
“It’s been a long haul, but it’s a great day and we’re happy to be here,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
The park sits at the entrance to Fort Totten, which has quickly become a popular spot for community events – including a Fourth of July fireworks show – over the course of the year.
Community leaders predicted the new facility would get a lot of use.
“This is going to be a tremendous asset to the entire community,” said Warren Schreiber, a Community Board 7 member and president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance.