What’s Up With the Utility Work in Dumbo?

(Photo courtesy of marielleleenen)

A lot of you (myself included) have been wondering what’s up with the utility work going on lately in Dumbo. Christie Rizk, the reporter covering Dumbo at The Brooklyn Paper wrote “You can thank Keyspan for all the torn up streets in DUMBO lately. The gas company is installing new high-pressure lines and upgrading its services for all the new residents moving into the neighborhood…” in last week’s edition. I also called Tucker Reed, the Executive Director at the Dumbo Improvement District to see if the construction will be restoring the Belgian blocks. Several readers have written in concerned that the sidewalks are not being restored to its original state.

Tucker tells me that there is a policy to make the replacement of Belgian blocks mandatory for all contractors for all repairs on the streets. Additionally, he wants us to look out for the Dumbo Improvement District’s new Spring 2007 newsletter that has information on the utility work. The newsletter is not yet on the Dumbo Improvement District’s website, but here’s what the Spring 2007 newsletter states:

“You may have noticed the tremendous amount of utility work going on in DUMBO these days. Keyspan Energy Corporation is upgrading and installing new utility lines all throughout the neighborhood to replace the current, horribly outdated infrastructure. It is a necessary inconvenience that should be completed over the next few weeks. At which point, Keyspan will be responsible for replacing all of the sidewalks and streetbeds that they have torn up in kind.

A side benefit of the Keyspan work is that they are moving many of the utility lines from our roadbeds to run them underneath our sidewalks. Moving the lines will clear the roadbeds for City projects to rehabilitate and refurbish the Belgian block streets in the neighborhood that are in desperate need of repair.

To date, the City has not committed capital funding to fix our streets. However, over the coming year, we will be pushing the City tirelessly to begin undertaking these long overdue repairs. Please keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to assist us in these efforts. Preserving the historic character of our streetscapes, while ensuring that they are safe and well maintained, is of the utmost importance to the continued growth of our community.”

More signs that Dumbo is growing and the Dumbo BID is planning for the influx of population this summer. Write to Tucker Reed at tucker@dumbonyc.org if you have concerns about the repair work not being up to standards.

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