Feb. 4, 2016 By Michael Florio
Those looking forward to an amphitheater in Astoria Park will have to wait.
The cost of the project exceeds the amount allocated by the City Council for its construction and it will now have to be built in phases over time, according to Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
For now, the agency can only commit to building an informal lounge area.
The Council allocated $4.7 million to the Parks Department for construction of the amphitheater project, which was expected to fill in a defunct diving pool and replace it with a platform stage space, seating for up to 500 people, new pavements and a new entrance directly to the theater.
However, bidding on the project recently closed and the lowest estimate for all the work was $7.3 million, according to the Parks Department.
“Bids are much, much higher than what we have in the budget,” Lewandowski said on Tuesday at the Astoria Park Alliance meeting. “It’s a builder’s market.”
Due to the high costs, the project will now be broken down into phases.
The first phase will be to fill in the diving pool, making the area once again usable to park goers who wish to lay their towels down there or even host events.
“Once we fill it in it will be usable public space,” Lewandowski said. “You can still host performances or events on there or use it as an area to lounge when the pool is open.”
The Parks Department is still figuring out the cost and timetable for building this initial lounge area.
“There are some tweaks that need to be made to do [this project] in phases,” Lewandowski said. “But we will move forward with the process of filling [the diving pool] in.”
Once completed, the agency will look into moving forward with additional phases, which would require additional funding, a Parks spokesperson said.