City finds $$ for yet another N. Shore study

November 10, 2008 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

A $600,000 price tag for a consultant while 4 other similar reviews are already under The city is spending $600,000 to hire a private consultant to study six miles of coast along the North Shore’s Kill van Kull, but there will be no property tax rebate for homeowners this year, no January police academy class and about 10 percent of the city workforce will be cut.

The North Shore study the city announced recently will be coordinated with at least four other similar reviews of the Island that are already under way and costing the city and other government agencies well over $4 million to conduct.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Nothing if you are in the business of doing studies, and nothing according to the city’s Economic Development Corp. (EDC), which late last week announced the selection of the private consultant PB Americas to head up a team that will analyze land and transportation issues along the North Shore, with particular focus on the coastline stretching from St. George to Mariners Harbor.

At the same time, the mayor was painting a sobering picture of the city’s financial situation in the coming years.

“As the mayor has pointed out, even though there is a current crisis we have to do what we can to prepare for when the crisis is over. We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past like in the 1970s,” Janel Patterson, an EDC spokeswoman, said of the reason for moving forward with the North Shore Study.

“The mayor’s modus operandi is to look at things carefully before we move forward, but we are not going to make uninformed decisions about future development,” she added.

She said EDC is still moving forward with other projects around the city. One is a planned ground breaking for Gotham Center, a commercial development that will be built on city land in Long Island City.

But that’s a brick and mortar development — not another study.

Even Borough President James Molinaro, a major booster of developing better transportation along the North and West shores, said he had concerns about spending more money now for a study.

He was quoted in the EDC’s press release about the North Shore Study as saying he looked forward to working with the consultant team and the city to improve waterfront access and explore the reuse of the old North Shore Railroad right of way for transportation alternatives, but he said his office also privately expressed some concern about the timing of such a study.

“To me, $600,000 is a lot,” Molinaro said in an interview with the Advance. “This study is not going to help our economy within the foreseeable future.”

“I would do a study on how to expedite approvals for people that want to do business here, whether it’s manufacturing, back office space or an expansion of a present business.”

The results of the North Shore study are expected to be coordinated with other planning processes and unveiled in 2009, according to the EDC.

Those reviews and their price tags include: The West Shore Land Use & Transportation Study, EDC funded at a cost of $800,000; the West Shore Light Rail Study, which the EDC is paid the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. $350,000 to help conduct; the Feasibility Study of the North Shore Rail right-of-way, a $3.5 million study jointly sponsored by the MTA, the borough president and Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Staten Island Regional/Urban Design Assessment Team Study, which was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island). Oddo secured $45,000 for the $60,000 study.

On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a bitter round of emergency budget cutting that means homeowners will not get the $400 property tax rebate promised them this fall and they could face more property tax hikes. Bloomberg also proposed a 10 percent cut of the city’s workforce.

But studies — like life — appear to go on.



Entry filed under: Dive In, Go Coastal, Staten Island. Tags: , , , , .

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