Elected officials gathered on Friday to break ground on the project, which will prevent storm waters from flooding the park and nearby homes.
The $6.65 million “rip-rap” seawall will be made up of large rocks that will protect the shoreline through both absorption and deflection of large waves. The system will also lessen the effects of erosion.
In addition to the seawall, the project will create a six-foot wide waterfront promenade with benches and planters in an area currently blocked to the public by a fence. The project should be complete by the summer of 2014.
“The much-anticipated repair of the Queensbridge Park seawall will provide additional storm protection for the Long Island City community, while also improving their access to the waterfront,” said Parks Commissioner Veronica White.
“The project will make the area safer, greener and more attractive while proving more protection from storm damage in the event of another hard-hitting superstorm like Sandy,” added Borough President Helen Marshall.
Talk of repairing and rebuilding the seawall has been going on since July of 2002.
“We’ve all been working on this for a long, long, long, long time,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “Getting this project off the ground has been a very long process.”
In 2002, Maloney passed a bill requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a study of the seawall and determine the extent of the repairs. She said that after the two-year study was complete, it was determined no action needed to be taken on the part of the federal government.
Once it was discovered that there was MTA electrical equipment underneath the seawall, the city agreed to fix the seawall.
“For five years nothing happened,” said Maloney, who added this was proof that things can get accomplished when the city works with federal officials.
“A year from now, when the project is complete, thousands of families and local residents will be able to celebrate its completion and enjoy sweeping views of the New York City skyline together right here in Queensbridge,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.