FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JANUARY 2, 2020 • 2020 PREVIEW • THE QUEENS COURIER 17
The biggest stories to watch for in northeast Queens
BY JENNA BAGCAL
and Underhill Avenue
Since March 2018, the Department
of Design and Construction along
with its contractor CAC Industries,
have been working on an infrastructure
project in Bayside. Th e $62.5 million
project aims to install new 8-, 12-,
20-, 48- and 72-inch water mains to
improve water service distribution and
improve fi re protection for residents.
As of November 2019, CAC Industries
completed approximately 35 percent of
QED991. Th e project’s estimated end
date is summer 2021.
As contractors continued working on
the project, Bayside residents expressed
displeasure concerning safety and their
quality of life. Complaints included
ear-splitting noise, dust, cracked roads
and sidewalks and multiple street closures,
which made parking diffi cult.
Meanwhile, residents living on
Underhill Avenue had complaints of
their own concerning the construction
project. While DDC and CAC work on
the Bayside project, they use Underhill
Avenue and 170th Street as a storage
facility site. Underhill residents said that
they experience the same noise and disruptions
as the Bayside residents.
Back in February 2019, the residents
pushed for DDC and Community Board
7 to remove the site, expressing quality
of life concerns and a lack of community
input. Nine months later, the residents
met at the Auburndale Improvement
Association meeting in November to
discuss concerns with DDC Deputy
Commissioner Andrew Hollweck.
Stakeholders questioned whether
DDC had plans to make the site a permanent
storage facility for future projects.
But Hollweck commiserated with
the residents and said that residential
neighborhoods “should not be the home
to heavy industrial use for eternity and
DDC will not permit that.”
Hollweck said that although the project
is slated to end in 2021, DDC contracted
the site until 2022.
Queens County Farm Expansion
In December, the New York State
Department of Agriculture and Markets
announced the expansion of Queens
Courtesy of Grodenchik's offi ce
County Farm, which would bring
with it an additional 1.6 acres of land.
Th e expansion and restoration would
increase the farm’s crop-growing area by
more than 30 percent and shorten the
food’s journey from farm to table.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik spearheaded
expansion eff orts, which will aid
one of New York State’s longest operation
farms in bringing residents more
Th e New York State Offi ce of Mental
Health, which owns the property, reached
an agreement with the nonprofi t to lease
the land for crop production. According
to the Queens County Farm Musem
Executive Director, the planned expansion
will allow the farm to increase their
crop variety to include garlic, potatoes,
winter squash, sweet potatoes and corn.
Th e planned patch of land is located
just behind the soccer fi eld on the premises.
Weprin said that to prepare for
the expansion, farm employees need to
install and gate and get a tractor to even
out the road area. Employees will also
observe the land’s behavior for one season
and observe what naturally grows
and how best to maintain it.
Community members bought the
land from the state-owned Creedmore
Hospital in the 1970s. Residents collaborated
to save the farm and develop the
Queens County Farm Museum in 1975.
Prior to this, the land had been continuously
farmed since 1697.
Each year, the farm hosts an average
of 400,000 visitors, 100,000 of which
are students. Visitors to the farm learn
about nearly 14,000 pounds of fresh
fruit, vegetables, herbs and fl owers as
well as the 270 farm animals on site.
Queens County Farm announced its expansion in December.
Photo by Samantha Wanderer/QNS
Construction workers are hard at work on the Bayside infrastructure project.