At last week’s Community Board 5 meeting, Parks officials said the design was amended because the bids from contractors were too high.
“It was higher than that total allocation,” said Nicholas Magilton, a senior landscape architect with the Parks Department. “We are dealing with rising prices in a competitive environment with our contractors.”
The project was allocated $2.39 million in funding in 2016, including $1.89 million from the City Council and $500,000 from the borough president’s office.
Magilton presented a revised project that cut out many of the amenities included in the first version, including new picnic tables, grills and fitness equipment.
In the initial design, the project had a 10-foot-wide, multi-use bike and pedestrian walkway that led to the picnic area. Instead, the new plan will use the existing concrete roadbed along Myrtle Avenue.
That will connect with a five-foot-wide pedestrian-only path. Cyclists, Magilton said, would have to dismount and walk their bikes in this section.
There will still be new lighting, along with some benches and trash receptacles.
“This new scope focuses on providing that connection and providing an entry that’s safe,” he said.
Magilton added that the Parks Department was seeking the board’s approval so they can make it a reality.
“It should be quicker than in the past,” he said. “We’ll be able to do this quickly and send it out for rebid.”
CB5 members brought up some potential issues with the new design.
“No one’s going to get off their bike and walk through that,” said Kathy Masi from Glendale. “The least you could do is put back in where they can lock their bikes up.”
Magilton responded that that’s something they could add to the revised version.
Steven Fiedler, who chairs the board’s Parks Committee, asked why the agency couldn’t just lay off for one year and wait for more funding to “do it the right way.”
“I’m sure there would be more funding to do this next year, the way it was first designed,” he said.
Magilton said the Parks Department did reach out to elected officials to see if there was any interest in additional funding, but ultimately they decided to move ahead.
“I can’t answer the question of whether there would be funding in the future,” he said. “This doesn’t preclude us, if funding does become available at a future date, from expanding to our full scope.”
Magilton said they are looking at a two- to three-month range to get the bid re-released.
CB5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri requested one month so the Parks Committee could review the new proposal.
“We will look at this a little further,” he said.