Residents say Bergen construction a danger to kids

Residents say Bergen construction a danger to kids
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Georgetown residents say the city literally gave them the shaft when it dug up a two-block-long trench on Bergen Avenue, then abruptly stopped work — leaving a dangerous open wound in the street that they say is a death trap for kids.

The city ripped up Bergen Avenue between Avenue L and Ralph Avenue to install sewer pipes in October, but workers packed up and left suddenly in July, leaving behind an unsupervised ditch that some neighbors say kids have turned into a playground.

“They definitely get in,” said Anthony Joga, who lives nearby. “I’ve actually had to chase some of them out of there.”

The construction was part of a plan to ensure raw sewage doesn’t flow into the nearby Paerdegat Basin during heavy rain, and the city says the project was put on hold while changes were made to its plans.

That left the pit a vacant wasteland where weeds grew and kids could easily climb through the flimsy plastic netting that surrounded it, and had residents wondering what was going on.

“There used to be constant banging all day,” said Rick Redd, whose home is right next to the work site. “Now it’s just stopped for at least the past two weeks.”

That changed on Friday, when the Department of Environmental Protection, which is overseeing the work, had workers cover portions of the fence with a tarp, making it more difficult for children to get in, after the agency received questions about the safety of the area from this newspaper and Councilman Lewis Fidler (D–Canarsie).

But residents are still concerned kids will get through.

“There’s no supervision. Kids are inquisitive. They’re going to go there,” said neighbor Henry Bolus.

The city says the project will get back underway shortly.

“The work will resume in several weeks,” said Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Mike Saucier.

Residents fear that kids can get hurt inside this construction site on Bergen Avenue, and some say they’ve seen children playing there.
Photo by Steve Solomonson