Fort Totten Plans Proceed

Fort Totten development marches on

Tuesday, January 15th 2008, 4:00 AM

Fort Totten Park, a 50-acre site transformed from a former Army base will continue to be developed as both a historic site and as a shorefront green space, officials said last week.

The Queens Borough Board received an update on the plans for the borough’s newest park from landscape architect Nancy Owens at its monthly meeting on Jan. 7.

The board, chaired by the borough president, includes the Queens City Council delegation and community board chairpersons.

An $850,000 renovation of a historic ordnance building into a museum and visitors’ center is complete and the center is receiving exhibits.

“The Urban Park Rangers are creating historical and environmental exhibits for the building and we will be scheduling an opening soon,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Abby Lootens.

“Some of the things available at the visitors’ center will include hands-on exhibits for children and Civil War replica uniforms, as well as artillery, maps, pictures and other historical information,” Lootens said.

Also on the to-do list is a tram that will be powered by an alternative fuel and is scheduled to be in operation by the summer.

“The tram will make the property more accessible to all park users, including those in wheelchairs,” Lootens said.

Also scheduled is the demolition of 19 buildings and the construction of a passive recreation area in the northern portion of the park.

It will be outfitted with new lawns, paths, benches, a drinking fountain, new lighting, new native trees and a bioswale, which filters contaminants from storm water.

Next on the priority list will be a study of the sea wall. Also under study is the possible installation of a comfort station, veterans’ garden and a performance area.

Design improvements to the chapel and the addition to the offices of the Bayside Historical Society of an elevator for the disabled are underway, Lootens said.

The historic battery has been renovated and was opened to the public in June 2005. The Fort Totten pool, formerly operated by the YMCA, opened to the public last summer.

In December a new fire marshal base opened.

The new base is in a three-story, 12,000-square-foot building with interview rooms, a holding cell, a kitchen, a conference room and office space. A fire marshal office at Fort Totten was closed in 2003 amid citywide budget cuts. The fort is also home to the 77th Regional Readiness Command of the U.S. Army Reserves.

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Posted Under: Bayside, Parks, Queens

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