New York Post City Has Spent $147K for Scaffolding Outside Courthouse by Melissa Klein

New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos
City Has Spent $147K for Scaffolding Outside Courthouse

The scaffolding outside the state Supreme Court in Queens appears to be serving a life sentence.

The sidewalk sheds at the courthouse’s front entrance on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica and along its sides have been in place for nine years at a cost to the city of $1,080 a month and counting.

The total bill so far is $147,105.11, including the original installation fees in February 2009 and a subsequent replacement and modification in April 2017, according to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which owns the building.

The massive neoclassical courthouse, the location of the Supreme Court’s civil term, surrogate’s court and the county clerk’s office, dates to the 1930s.

A 2009 inspection report found that a previous construction project caused major damage resulting in “cracked stone panels and partially demolishing parts of the balconies and parapets.

“Scaffolding has been erected at these locations to protect the public from safety hazards and work has been permitted to correct these conditions,” the report says.

Yet the work never went forward because of a dispute among city agencies.

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The city’s Office of Management and Budget rejected a funding request, saying the project wasn’t eligible for capital money.

DCAS and the city’s Department of Design & Construction are now requesting additional funding to start the project, according to a DCAS spokeswoman.

Last week, the city Department of Buildings issued a violation because the shed’s construction did not conform to the plans filed.

DCAS said it was working to correct the problem.

The city does not limit how long a sidewalk shed can stay in place. Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) has proposed legislation that would require such eyesore sheds be removed after seven days if no work takes place, but the bill has stalled.

“If the sidewalk sheds are there to protect us from the buildings, who’s going to protect us from the sidewalk sheds?” he said.


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