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The only thing standing between two new city parks in Greenpoint is the city itself.
A nonprofit group has been unable to move ahead on funding two new parks on the East River waterfront because the city has failed to live up to its promise to clear the land in a timely fashion.
The sites in question — the MTA’s notorious waterfront parking lot 65 Commercial St., and a sludge tank between DuPont and West streets — were supposed to be available by now so that the City Parks Foundation, which has $7 million to play with thanks to a city settlement with the state over neighborhood pollution, could create the new park spaces.
So what’s the problem?
The MTA has refused to budge from its Commercial Street lot because the city has been unable to find a suitable replacement — though a Council source said that it was the MTA that rejected a city-chosen site in nearby Queens.
Additionally, the city has been slow to demolish its sludge tank as it has experienced delays upgrading a fleet of sludge vessels. City officials estimate it could be four to six years before the tank is eventually removed.
That’s too long, said Greenpoint resident Laura Hofmann.
“The MTA has expanded its operations on its Commercial Street property,” she said. “They never had intentions of going anywhere.”
An MTA spokesman said that if the city provides a suitable alternate location for its bus maintenance and emergency response facilities on Commercial Street it would relocate.
“We are continuing to work with the city to identify possible alternate locations,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.
The City Parks Foundation said it is still hopeful to fund greenspace at the two locations, but is also moving ahead with other sites, which will be chosen by surveys of community need.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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