Oct. 30, 2015 By Michael Florio
The proposal to renovate Dunningham Triangle, located at 82nd Street and Baxter Avenue, has once again been delayed.
The project, which was funded in 2012, has been put on hold pending decisions on community concerns from elected officials and community stakeholders, according to the Parks Department.
Construction for this project started in July, and the completion date is now expected for December 2016.
The community has concerns about people sleeping in the park overnight, according to Leslie Ramos, Executive Director of the 82nd Street Partnership.
Ramos met last week with Councilman Daniel Dromm, representatives of Community Board 3 and other community representatives to discuss this issue.
There are currently a number of both homeless and intoxicated individuals that leave Elmhurst Hospital and sleep on 82nd Street, Ramos said.
“It is a completely different neighborhood at night,” she said.
The concern is that the renovation, which would add two benches to the park, will invite these individuals to sleep inside the park, according to Ramos.
Attendees at last week’s meeting discussed the possibility of constructing a four-foot fence around the park that can be closed off at night. The current proposal includes a two-foot fence that would have entrances that cannot be closed off.
Ramos does not want to include the larger fence, as she said it will take away from the beauty of the park, but said she is willing to compromise.
She said the plan is for these officials to all speak again soon and see if they can reach an agreement.
This hold up is not the project’s first. The originally planned completion date was August 2014, but the project was delayed as it had to be put up for re-bid due to lack of interest in the contract, a Parks Department spokesperson said.
The idea for the park is to be a space where residents can go to talk and enjoy the scenery, Ramos said.
The renovation design as it currently stands would bring two benches, more planting space, and a small stage area, according to Ramos.
The project received $320,000 in funding, according to the Parks Department, with $115,000 from City Council, $150,000 from the Queens Borough President and $55,000 in Mayoral funding. Construction began in July, with the park being fenced off.
Dromm did not respond to request for comments.
As it stands for the last few weeks, sometime after Viva La Comida, there is now a 10 foot chain link fence around the whole thing. The sidewalk is no longer passable, forcing the many pedestrians into the street on both Baxter and 82nd. It is very dangerous, ugly, and unacceptable. Why was the fence put up if no work is planned? Does the community have to walk around a fence- in the street- for the next year? I had hopes for a Christmas tree-lighting and having our local school PS89 use the renovated park space. I remember when I moved here in 2000, that a neighbor kid mentioned they went there as a class to draw leaves. That was sad to me then, that it was the only nearby park, and a true travesty now that it’s fenced up.
The above mentioned park has for as long as I can remember , been a area used by a myriad of people. Shoppers taking a break, people eating a quick bite, and yes the homeless . There was also a residence across the street on the corner which appeared to be some sort of halfway house for recovering drug addicts ,if I’m correct . I have never considered the area a “” park “” If anything I looked at it as a place to avoid .Any improvement would be welcomed, but putting up a 4 foot fence to keep undesirables out is ridiculous. It is naive to think a low fence will keep anyone out .Improve the area and hope for the best, which is exactly what I think your gut instinct is saying .