City takes mulligan
Six years after a PGA-class golf course was supposed to have opened in the Bronx, the city Parks Department has gotten the nod to tee up the project all over again.
After Parks voided the contract with the previous developer late last year over repeated delays, the Franchise and Concession Review Committee yesterday unanimously authorized the agency to issue another request for proposals to develop an 18-hole golf course at Ferry Point Park in Throgs Neck and to operate it for 35 years.
While the greens are a few years away, the first phase of the new project – which will include two new public parks – is expected to open in 2009, according to the Parks Department.
The first phase will include a 7.5-acre community park on the eastern end of Ferry Point Park that will likely include a new ballfield, tot lot, playground, basketball court and nature trail.
Plus, Parks will develop a 19-acre waterfront park on the southern edge of the property that will feature a promenade with sweeping views of the East River, city skylines and the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges.
The previous developer, Pierre Gagne, failed to meet repeated promised completion dates, but revelations in the Daily News of alleged mob involvement may have been the final nail in the coffin for the Ferry Point Golf Course, according to locals opposed to the project.
Last summer, the Daily News reported that the FBI was investigating two companies known to be dumping landfill at the site – New York Dirt and JustUs Recycling Corp. – for alleged mob ties.
According to feds, a Gambino capo was caught on tape boasting that the mob was taking as much as $5 for every cubic yard of dirt the companies dumped.
When digging the foundations for new buildings, contractors have to pay so-called tipping fees to have the dirt hauled away and dumped at rates ranging from $4 to $12 per cubic yard.
In 1998, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani promised that 222 acres of Scottish-style links would open in 2001, but nine years later, the site – just east of the Whitestone Bridge – is still nothing more than a gigantic pile of dirt.
The decision to terminate the contract after years of complaints from neighbors came after a member of the Ferry Point Park Coalition wrote a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn citing an exclusive Daily News story suggesting that two mob-connected trucking outfits could be skimming money from the project.
BY BILL EGBERT
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