On Feb. 22, contractors pulled down the fencing that has surrounded Van Cortlandt Park’s comfort station for years. Construction on the little building, located near the busy bus stop on Broadway at West 242nd Street, has taken more than three years due to delays related to its electrical contractor.
The $1.5 million project — funded as part of the deal to construct the Croton Water Filtration Plant in the Van Cortlandt Park — started at the end of 2009 and was expected to take one year. Work included reconstructing the exterior and interior of the building, which serves as a public bathroom as well as the Parks Department’s district headquarters. The building has a new accessible ramp, plumbing fixtures and a lighting and ventilation system.
The chosen electrical contractor — Warren Johnson Electric — had never been used by the Parks Department before and was let go for “non-performance.”
A contractor on retainer with Parks stepped in to finish the project.
“It’s about time,” Bob Bender, chair of Community Board 8’s Parks and Recreation Committee, said. “What else can you say?”
For the last few years, the only bathroom open to the public near the heavily used Parade Ground has been at the Van Cortlandt Nature Center near the tennis courts. Community Board 8 has asked the city to install a bathroom toward the northern end of the Parade Ground at West 251st Street.
This is the third Parks project to be completed in Vannie in the last year after serious delays due to incompetent contractors hired by the city. The massive Parade Ground renovation was completed at the end of last summer after delays due to a contractor planting the wrong grass. Nearby, the reconstruction of Memorial Grove was completed just before Memorial Day last year after years of delays, partly due to a contractor buying the wrong fencing and furnishing plaques with the wrong font.