Written by Rich Forestano Tuesday, 20 May 2014 09:44
Operation Main Street, a plan that would see a stretch of Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park revamped with traffic calming features and aesthetic updates, has struggled to reach its completion. Work had been halted in February due to weather, but was scheduled to pick up in mid-March, with a May 15 deadline, according to village officials.
Village contractor J. Anthony Enterprises missed the end date. They did not return calls for comment.
“We’ve read the [J. Anthony] contract carefully and there are actions we may consider taking,” Mayor Robert Lofaro said.
Benches were to be installed on sidewalks, which would be paved with the same rustic red brickwork already in place in some parts of the road near the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Lakeville Road. New Hyde Park’s original 2009 plan was slated between Ingraham Lane and
Hillside Boulevard. The idea was to create a more pedestrian friendly and safer environment, while providing a downtown appeal for the shopping district.
“We’ve been so disappointed with [J. Anthony]. They’re never going to work in the Village of New Hyde Park again,” Lofaro said. “They were supposed to be done before the street fair [in September]. It’s just been a disaster from the get go.”
The project, shepherded by trustee Donald Barbieri, has seen its share of ups and downs since late 2013. New Hyde Park faced a hurdle last summer when the New York State Department of Transportation informed the village that old environmental reports needed to be updated before beginning the bid process that led to the J. Anthony hiring.
The state required the village board to change project plans three times and amend a resolution it had previously passed regarding federal reimbursement. The DOT did not return calls for comment.
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy originally secured a federal grant (about $1.6 million) for the village through a federal transportation appropriation and community block grant funds for the project. McCarthy wrote to the chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in 2009 pushing for the funds.
The project also conflicted with the now finished $21.1 million Jericho Turnpike repaving project. Barbieri said it was tough to coordinate J. Anthony with DOT contractor Tully Construction and the DOT itself. The issues, specifically center medians built during the project, have angered village residents.
“I’m a little disappointed that we weren’t able to coordinate the project a bit better with the state, where one came before the other,” Barbieri said. “But, we’re going to work our way through it. I’m sure the end product will be something everyone in New Hyde Park will enjoy.”
According to Lofaro, New Hyde Park contacted the state, asking if they’d amend its contract with Tully to stipulate that it replace dead plants in the medians.
“The medians are just garbage collectors,” said New Hyde Park resident Paul DeMattina. “They’re filthy. The plants are dead. People use them to cross the street and dump their trash in the process. It’s not what I want to see in my village.”