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CB 18 move stalled

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Community Board 18’s plan to move out of the Glenwood Houses and into a spanking new facility in Georgetowne will have to wait a few months.

Reported “contract snags” have held up the opening of the combined sewer overflow (CSO) retention facility at 1887 Ralph Avenue near East 73rd Street, where space for board offices have been reserved.

Last January, Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano proudly told members that the new offices would be open by late 2009.

Now it appears that the offices won’t be open until next summer, board members have been told.

While the building that will house board offices is up, the sidewalk and nearby parking lot have yet to be completed. The building is currently surrounded by dirt roads, said one source who added that board members were “disgusted” to hear the news.

“[The project] has had all kinds of snags,” the source said. “This is what happens when the city puts out contracts, they take the lowest bidder who can’t fulfill the project in time.”

The community board’s new home is part of a $345 million plan for the retention facility as well as the construction of a 20-million-gallon underground storage tank and upgrades to the pumping station at Ralph and Flatlands Avenues.

The board is expected to be located in a new 4,000-square-foot building, located on Bergen Avenue, near the facility. The city-owned building will also house offices for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

When contacted, Turano confirmed that the move would be delayed and that board members were “very disappoint­ed.”

“We will probably move in before the summer,” she said. “Probably to be safe the city will push that back, but we’ll keep sitting on them.”

While one of the buildings is already occupied, the city told them that the board can’t move into their building because of “insurance reasons.”

The new facility will be a vast improvement over the office in the Glenwood Houses on Avenue H and East 58th Street, which the Board has called its home since 1977.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” Turano said about their future home. “I can’t wait to get in there.”

The rent, however, will match the improvements. In previous meetings, Turano said that the monthly rent is expected to go up from $34, which just covered utilities, to an estimated $5,000 a month. Turano has requested a $5,000 a month allocation for the new offices, although she admits that it’s a “highball” number.

DEP officials said that while their project is on schedule, the building is still part of an active construction site and won’t be able to be occupied for a few more months.

“We have to move in a particular manner,” a DEP spokesperson said. “We want to make sure that everybody’s safe and secure first.”

The DEP will be contacting the Community Board by the end of the year to make sure that the location is still conducive to their needs, the spokesperson said.

—with Gary Buiso

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