In what many are calling a frustrating delay, a $1.7 million project to renovate two Nassau County-owned parking malls on East Park Avenue in Long Beach has become tangled in bureaucratic red tape, after officials said that the county has yet to reimburse the city for improvements already made or provide funding for much-needed safety improvements for pedestrians.
The project is part of an inter-municipal agreement between the county and the city, approved by the City Council in 2011, in which the county agreed to fully reimburse Long Beach for the reconstruction of the aging parking areas.
The design and construction of the two malls is being funded by the county’s capital improvement funds. It includes a $1 million appropriation by the county for the first project, and another $750,000 that requires further appropriation by the County Legislature.
The first part of the project featured improvements to a deteriorating parking mall on East Park, between Long Beach and Monroe boulevards, that were completed in April 2012. They included a newly paved parking lot, brick sidewalks, catch basins, new curbing and LED lighting.
County Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) secured funding for the project. But city officials said they have yet to receive approximately $680,000 the county owes the city for the work, and reconstruction cannot begin on the second parking mall project, also on East Park Avenue, between Roosevelt and Neptune boulevards, until the Legislature appropriates the funding.
“The city has already finished the work on one and we haven’t been paid for it,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said. “We know that Legislator Ford would like us to do the second parking mall, but as Jerry Maguire once said, ‘Show me the money.’ We need everyone to work together.”
For her part, Ford said that she is working with the county’s Department of Public Works to move the project forward, after she sent a letter to the city on July 1, claiming that it had not provided all the necessary documentation for the work — lab test results for materials used and documentation that the concrete mix requirements were met, among others — which has held up the funding.