Fix is set for Sandy-ravaged Bensonhurst seawall

January 14, 2013 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Shore Parkway seawall, which sustained heavy damage during Hurricane Sandy, will undergo emergency repairs by the New York City Parks Department, a Community Board 11 official has announced. 

Marnee Elias-Pavia, the community board’s district manager, told members at their Jan. 10 meeting at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, 1740 84th St., that the seawall repair work will begin in February under an emergency contract.

The super-storm caused the seawall to be breached, damaging a 250-foor-long section located at 17th Avenue, officials said. The seawall is located adjacent to a pedestrian promenade that stretches from the 69th Street pier in Bay Ridge to the Caesar’s Bay Shopping Mall in Bensonhurst. The promenade was also ripped up in the hurricane. Large holes can still be seen on the walkway at 17th Avenue.

A fence and police tape was placed around the damaged section of the seawall to prevent pedestrians from getting too close.

The condition of the seawall is of great concern to residents in both Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge. Elias-Pavia said. Community Board 11 covers Bensonhurst and Bath Beach. “The district manager of Community Board 10 and I have requested a meeting with the Parks Department so that we can review the plans,” Elias-Pavia said. Josephine Beckmann is the district manager of Community Board 10, covering Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Brooklyn-Staten Island) and state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) both recently said that they are pushing for a more comprehensive project. Both lawmakers said they’d like to see the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers come in and rebuild the entire section of the seawall and has written to federal and state officials to try to make it happen. Golden also wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers.

In other news, Community Board 11 voted to recommend to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs that Pizza Daddy, a pizzeria at 6422 Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst, be granted a permit to operate an enclosed sidewalk café on the 65th Street side of the restaurant. The board voted over the objections of a woman who said she owns an apartment building next door to the restaurant. The woman complained that her building has a rodent problem. “I’ve lost tenants because of it,” she said. “One tenant lived there for 28 years. He said, ‘I can’t take it anymore!’”

But Bill Guarinello, the community’s board’s chairman, said the rodents are likely coming from a vacant lot on the block and not from the pizzeria. “Pizza Daddy has nothing to do with the lot,” he said. The board will contact the city’s Dept. of Health to address the rodent infestation, he said.

Board member Donald Clark, who voted in favor of the sidewalk café, said he believed it was important for the board to support local businesses. “Pizza Daddy is a community oriented business. That area is often desolate at night. Often at night, Pizza Daddy is the only thing open,” Clark said, adding that the pizzeria’s owners provide an important public safety element to the neighborhood.

The board’s Planning and Zoning Committee carefully considered the sidewalk café application, said Committee Chairman Man Wai Lau. “We actually went there for a site inspection and measured the width of the sidewalk,” he said. The committee took the action to make sure the sidewalk café would leave enough room for pedestrians to navigate the sidewalk, he said. “We believe the applicant has complied with all existing regulations and rules,” he said.

The community board also heard from two elected officials at the meeting. Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) told the board he is planning to sponsor a series of cleanups in Bernsonhurst to rid the neighborhood of litter and graffiti. “We’ll be picking different areas. We’re also going to go into the schools with the Dept. of Sanitation to talk about proper trash disposal and get an education program going,” he said.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Bensonhurst-Sunset Park) announced that due to changes in assembly district lines, he had to move his two district offices. His offices are now located at 6605 Fort Hamilton Parkway and at 6604 17th Ave. The phone numbers are 718- 232-9565 (Fort Hamilton Parkway office) and 718-236-1764 (17th Avenue office). 

Now that the new legislative session in Albany has opened, lawmakers will be grappling with taming a $1 billion state budget deficit, Abbate said. But he also said there have been worse budget problems in the past. “It’s not as bad as it’s been in the past,” he said, adding that he is confident the state legislature will be able to close the gap. “We can find a way,” he said.

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