Great Neck Plaza trustees approved $32,925 more in spending to support engineering services from LKB Engineering for a “transportation enhancement project” last Wednesday night as construction work enters the final stage.
The village awarded a contract to J. Anthony Enterprises for the infrastructure project to revamp Shoreward Drive and Welwyn Road for just shy of $1 million last year. Project plans had first been outlined in 2016, following a promise of state Transportation Department funds to pay for most of the project.
Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender said the board “made a commitment to do this project” and requested the funds to ensure that an inspection engineer from LKB Engineering could see the project through to the end.
“It’s a complex job. It’s not a minor job they’re doing over there,” Celender said. “It’s been a lot of time spent trying to coordinate to make sure safety comes first.”
Of the $32,925 approved, $27,800 was slated for additional engineering inspection services based on 240 hours of “technical effort” required. The other $5,125 would go toward closeout services and reporting under the state’s Equitable Business Opportunities program.
Celender said they had reached “pretty much up to what we had allocated” and the state only gives up to a certain percentage of the contract. Celender also said the project stopping and starting again has not been helpful.
“They don’t care if it’s requiring more hours because of the detailed nature [of the project],” Celender said.
Leonard Katz, a Great Neck Plaza resident, questioned the board on where the money comes from and if there is “money waiting to be spent” on such a contingency.
Celender said no, but the board felt they had already undertaken a million-dollar project and the alternative could compromise it.
Village Clerk-Treasurer Patricia O’Byrne said the budget can be flexible, with leftover money in other areas being available for other expenses.
“We have a budget,” O’Byrne said, “but we don’t always expend everything in one area.”
In unrelated business, village officials approved a short-term lease agreement with the Long Island Rail Road to continue the use of a lot area near North Station Plaza.
Richard Gabriele, the village attorney, said this will give the village time to negotiate over certain liability issues as they work to forge a long-term agreement.
In other village business, trustees adjourned a hearing about the creation of a building department to Wednesday, Aug. 7, the first meeting of August, and a hearing on 16 Maple Drive, a proposed mixed-use building.
On another front, Great Neck Plaza trustees granted a conditional use permit for Great Neck Cinemas at the Squire on 115 Middle Neck Road, following a change of ownership earlier this year.
“We’re happy that you took it over and that we still have a theater,” Celender said.
The next village board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 19, at 8 p.m.