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Southern Brooklyn's boondoggle

Work on embattled field house resumes

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Construction will resume on the long-delayed Marine Park Field House this week after Comptroller John Liu broke down and allowed the Parks Department to work with a contractor he claimed it illegally hired.

Work on Brooklyn most expensive green latrine stopped more than six months ago when Liu claimed Parks didn’t conduct a citywide search for a qualified crew to install the building’s highly technical heating and air conditioning system.

But after a six month delay, Liu nevertheless approved the Parks Department’s decision to hire T Moriarty and Sons — a crew already doing work on the field house, an agency spokesman said.

Yet the field house’s contract snafus and continual delays has outraged community residents like Republican District Leader Anthony Testaverde, who demanded to know what local elected officials were doing to fix the “fiasco” at a recent Marine Park Civic Association meeting.

Even Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) has given up trying to give the public answers, telling Testaverde to blame Mayor Bloomberg.

“I fight to get the money so we can have this in our neighborhood and not in the Bronx, or in Central Park, or in some hoity-toity park in Brooklyn Bridge Park,” Fidler told Testaverde. “If the city doesn’t do it right, you should talk to the mayor about that.”

The Marine Park Field House has become Southern Brooklyn’s biggest boondoggle: the price of the community center, which is essentially one meeting room, two bathrooms and closets for storage, has ballooned from $6.5 to $16 million and has suffered countless delays.

The project is currently costing taxpayers $5,000 a square foot — more than the 104-story Freedom Tower in Manhattan, which is $1,456 per square foot.

The Freedom Tower is expected to be completed next year, beating the Marine Park Field House by several months. Both projects began in ernest in 2008.

Yet there are those who are happy to see something happening at the site.

“There are trucks coming out of there,” said Greg Barusso, President of the Marine Park Civic Association.

“I don’t think work is being done yet, but it seems like they’re preparing for something.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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