Hunters Point Library: Action & Accountability
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Honorable Mayor de Blasio:
The Long Island City community learned on Thursday, July 26th that, once again, the Hunters Point (Queens West) Library faces another massive delay beyond the initial opening date of 2014. The New York Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and Queens Library had most recently told the community that construction would be completed in August 2018 and the Library would open in February 2019. On Thursday, that promised date of completion was pushed to August 2019.
This delay is unacceptable in a project that has been planned since development began in Hunters Point over 20 years ago and has been in-process since at least 2010. While other neighborhoods in New York City, and Queens in particular, enjoy 6 day per week public library service, Hunters Point residents have yet to enjoy this taxpayer supported service. While other neighborhoods have early literacy programs, job training workshops, technology classes for older adults, citizenship classes, and myriad other public library offerings, Hunters Point residents walk 20 minutes to reach Court Square Library, a small hybrid community library that was not intended to support the current level of development in the area. As ferries pull into Hunters Point carrying tourists and commuters, one of the noteworthy sights on the shores of the East River is a partially completed building that was supposed to define the Queens skyline, and is now an eyesore. The unfinished structure serves as a daily reminder of the failures and mismanagement of this project. As high-rise luxury buildings are constructed at a breath-taking pace across Long Island City - the single fastest growing community in the United States - the Hunters Point Library is a mud-filled, idle construction site, offering nothing but obstructed views and dilapidated fencing after almost a decade of planning and construction.
The Hunters Point Library project is an embarrassment and a prime example of New York City government waste and inefficiency. The original budget for the library was $23 million. With the current price tag of $41 million, the financial malfeasance for a four-story public library beggars belief. The project has failed so absolutely that the Center for an Urban Future used the project as the centerpiece of its April, 2017 report, Slow Build. The people and agencies responsible for building Hunters Point Library have failed. Those involved in past decisions, including the decision to hire Triton Structural, failed. Those responsible for getting the Hunters Point Library to completion in February 2019, one of many promised deadlines come and gone, have failed.
On behalf of the community, LIC United is writing to demand:
-the formation of a committee to review, investigate, make recommendations for redress to the community, and sanction those involved in past and present gross mismanagement, including Triton Structural, the Department of Design & Construction, and Queens Library
-a commitment from City Hall to implement an accelerated construction timeline
greater transparency in the construction, build-out, and opening process from the DDC and Queens Library
-timely and accurate communication regarding the project timeline from the DDC and Queens Library to the entire community via social media, email, and monthly meetings
-increased and robust daily oversight of the construction site by the DDC that includes a log available to the public
-restoration of original design elements, including a reading garden and green technologies
The Hunters Point community should not be punished for the mismanagement of the project and the tax dollars already wasted. Deputy Mayors and DDC Commissioners have come and gone and they have all made false promises regarding the completion of a state-of-the-art, architecturally stunning public library. We are asking for your leadership in completing the Hunters Point Library and delivering the community jewel we were promised over a decade ago.
-Hunters Point Civic Association
-Gantry Parent Association
-Court Square Civic Association
-Friends of Queens Library at Court Square
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