Disastrous floods continue to damage Queens resident’s homes as City delays

(New York, NY) — Today, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Senator Addabbo, Assembly Member Barnwell, and Council Member Holden met with Middle Village homeowners to discuss a delayed sewer project and tour property damage ahead of the City’s hurricane season. The neighborhood frequently experiences flooding because of poor storm infrastructure, causing sewer backup and damaging resident’s homes after heavy rainfall.

Following a severe storm in 2007, the City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) promised residents a $22 million upgrade to the neighborhood’s sewer system. The project did not begin until almost 10 years later and was suddenly halted a year after contaminated soil was discovered at the construction site. An additional $8 million was needed for completion, according to the Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Although the project was set to begin in 2014, it still has not been completed and the request to extend the project end date again has only recently been submitted to the Comptroller’s office for review.

“The City chose to drag its feet on critical storm upgrades for years, putting the people of Middle Village directly in harm’s way,” said Comptroller Stringer. “This community deserves better – their livelihoods should not be threatened by bureaucracy and City agencies. We are here today to stand with residents to let them know we will do everything we can to remedy this issue immediately.”

“Holes were dug up, left open for months and then backfilled. They work, and they go away, but we live here and it’s not right. We want our street back, we want the flooding to stop, and we are counting on our elected representatives to help achieve that,” said Middle Village resident Anthony Torre.

“I am hopeful that by working together, we can urge the city to resume and complete this sewer project, so that my constituents don’t have to live in fear of flooding with every heavy rainstorm. I appreciate the efforts of our Comptroller, Scott Stringer, to advance the project,” said Senator Addabbo.

“I thank Comptroller Stringer and Senator Addabbo for joining Councilmember Holden and myself in meeting with our constituents and seeing firsthand the damage caused by recent storms.  The damage is evidence of what we all know.  The city’s infrastructure is outdated and needs immediate improvements. Our community deserves better and we will settle for nothing less,” said Assembly Member Barnwell.

“Flooding has been a problem in Middle Village for decades, and area residents have had enough of the red tape and bureaucracy of our city agencies. Not only do my constituents deserve better infrastructure, but as taxpayers, deserve it on time and under budget. We need the city to step up and get this project completed. Enough is enough,” said Council Member Holden.

Last year, Comptroller Stringer joined residents and local leaders in nearby Maspeth to learn more about the infrastructure upgrades along Calamus Avenue, and the problems construction caused for residents. After the tour, the Comptroller wrote a letter to DDC, outlining the complaints of the community and demanding immediate action. DDC agreed to post more information in advance and engage with the community, yet residents said they still do not have a clear timeline for when the project will be completed.