Written by Wendy Kreitzman Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00
When Great Neck residents received a letter from Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on July 6, many were confused and upset. The letter stated that the “long-awaited Middle Neck Road drainage project is slated to begin this month” and that traffic delays along Middle Neck Road were anticipated beginning July 15. Residents and local mayors were taken by surprise. Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin and Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman were promised meetings with county officials prior to the start of the actual work, yet the county’s response was that this was just preliminary work and the mayors will be consulted before the main work begins.
Michael Martino, press secretary for the Nassau County Department of Public Works, promised that the public will be kept informed and last week he told the Great Neck Record that he met with the local mayors in April and the county is now addressing a list of questions and concerns.
Local mayors and the Record received concerned phone calls regarding the county’s letter. Mayor Lopatkin said that there had been “several meetings” which the county’s department of public works had “created for the benefit of local officials over the past year,” but that it was “disconcerting at best that we were not even given the courtesy of a ‘heads up’ that the project was actually beginning.” She was much concerned with issues such as “lane closures, elimination of parking sports on parts of Middle Neck Road and complete closure of certain intersections.”
Mayor Lopatkin expressed her gratitude to Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth for her “advocacy of this project” over the past several years” and for her “tenacity” in sticking with this. However, Mayor Lopatkin is disappointed that the county’s DPW, “who is supposed to be managing the project … is sadly lacking in their ability to communicate” as the project moves forward.
Mayor Kreitzman told the Record that he has long been concerned over the drainage issues around Temple Beth-El and began requests for county help six years ago. The mayor said that “Thanks to County Legislator Judi Bosworth’s help … as part of the county’s capital budget … the engineer’s work was completed and the contract was awarded.” He that after NIFA took over the county’s finances, “the project was put on hold … and, again with Legislator Bosworth’s help, only rekindled early this year.”
And although local officials and affected parties (school district, temples, etc. in the area) had two meetings with the county in the spring, Mayor Kreitzman said that the county had promised additional meetings to work out exact schedules and details with respect to issues such as road closures and redirected traffic. “We have been trying to schedule meetings since April,” he said, “and then the letter came, without any notice coming or starting times set.”
Now, though, Mayor Kreitzman reports that “Thanks to Judi Bosworth, I believe we will soon be meeting soon with Nassau County and their contractors and engineers.”
Legislator Bosworth told the Record that she is “so pleased” that the long-awaited project has begun, but she said that it is “vital that a meeting with the county DPW is scheduled to make sure the lines or communication are open” and the mayors, community leaders and residents “know what to expect as the project progresses.”
County officials also praised Bosworth for her efforts and the letter mentioned thanks also to local community groups for working with the county on this project which, they state, will take about a year to complete.
Again, both before and during this work period, Martino promised that the “mayors can be in a solid role” regarding the drainage project and any related road closures and rerouting.