Friday, June 13, 2008

Hicksville Garage to be Torn Down; Where was Venditto and the Town Board?

According to today's Newsday the Hicksville garage that was closed two weeks ago will now be torn down.
Back then Oyster Bay Supervisior Venditto said "No one has indicated any danger of an immediate collapse."
One commuter said "I'm not surprised. This garage has been falling apart for years, but I'm shocked that it's an emergency situation now."
The a day later we find out that the garage was scheduled for repairs. "In the past three years, the Town of Oyster Bay had received complaints about falling chunks of concrete and cars damaged by water, said Deputy Supervisor Leonard Genova.
"The complaints are consistent with an aging facility," Genova said yesterday. "It's not something that would indicate that there were serious issues."

Actually, those complaints are consistent with a crumbling infrastructure ignored by the Town of Oyster Bay. There are many other facilities the same age or older that are kept up with repairs over the years. What was the maintanance schedule for the Hicksville LIRR Garage??
Apparently it has take two years of doing nothing pro-active to get a contractor to do the needed work. "Since 2006, the town has been working to award a contract for repairs of the known problems.

The town initially awarded the contract in July 2006, but the contractor withdrew its bid the next month because it did not have an apprenticeship program as town law requires, Genova said.

In October 2006, the job was awarded to another contractor, with work slated for the summer of 2007. But in April of this year, the town withdrew after it found the contractor was not qualified, Genova said.

On May 28, the town once again began soliciting bids, which are due Wednesday. Genova said that the town had asked the contractors to evaluate the condition of the garage and specify necessary repairs. He said that their reports never indicated the existence of serious problems."

Where are the Town of Oyster Bay Building Department engineers????
To regular commuters, the problems were indeed serious "You hear the whole garage rumble when people are driving above and chunks of cement are missing." and "It's impossible not to notice the conditions. When it rains, the cement cracks and you see gushes of water."

Venditto says "All structures, including the parking garage, need general maintenance"

Ya think?
Does this mean there is a Twon-wide problem with infrastructure?
If the Hicksville Garage is any indication, there are serious problems with Town of Oyster Bay facilities. An independent review by a New York State agency is needed since Venditto can't be trusted with the safety of residents who use Town facilities.

Venditto says of the demolition "The parking garage is in the twilight of its useful life. We've made many repairs over the years, but simple repairs don't make sense anymore."

Exactly when were the last serious structural repairs to the garage? By all indications it has been many. many years. And what about general maintanance? What about inspections? How long has it been?

"Since the structure closed, engineers have found more beams that needed replacement, Venditto said. Also, he said, when they exerted pressure on the beams, the surrounding concrete crumbled."
This is a FAR CRY from what was said by Deputy Supervisor Genova after the initial closure that "
It's not something that would indicate that there were serious issues."
Why did Genova try to downplay the seriousness of the problems that have been reported to the Town for YEARS?

Demolition is planned for September and Venditto figures 18 months until the new garage is built. This will be a two or more year project. But Venditto says "I'm going to do everything I can to shorten that time"
I hope that doesn't include cutting corners so a sub-standard garage can be built. The users of the garage deserve a safe structure and the taxpayers deserve a quality construction that will not cost more in repairs in a short time.
Venditto hasn't spoken about cost which will certainly impact the Town budget.

I wonder if regular maintanance would have prevented the problems or given the Town more time to plan for a new structure to be built. In any case, Venditto and the JV Squad has failed the taxpayers again.

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