Here’s a followup to a story we reported over the summer: the sorry state of the new benches on the Pike/Allen Street pedestrian mall. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had sent a letter to the Parks Department, urging the replacement of the wooden slats in the benches, which had either been “broken or removed.” The other night, during a community board meeting, Parks Department staff members said they’re working on repairing the benches.
Here’s what an agency spokesperson told us yesterday about the situation. Apparently there was a problem with the “treatment process” used on the wood slats. The contractors responsible for the job have agreed to fix the benches without passing on any additional costs to the city. The replacement slats will be made from wood supplied by a different vendor. “Once they are approved for exceeding the strength requirements,” the spokesperson said, the new slats will be manufactured and installed during the winter.
Five blocks of the Allen and Pike Street malls were renovated using funds from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the Borough President, City Council and city Department of Transportation. The project was budgeted at $6.45 million. Trocom Construction was the contractor. Soheil Mosun was the bench manufacturer.
Several neighborhood groups, including the Lower East Side BID, Hester Street Collaborative and Asian Americans for Equality advocated for the beautification project and led a local visioning process for the refurbished pedestrian islands. Only five of 13 blocks were funded, so most of the overall project remains incomplete. In the past, the Parks Department has estimated each block would cost $1 million to renovate.