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Hudson River Park Storm Damage Estimated at $10M

By Andrea Swalec | November 30, 2012 7:04am

GREENWICH VILLAGE — The flood waters that filled Pier 40 ball fields, buckled paving stones in playgrounds and destroyed pricy infrastructure throughout Hudson River Park caused an approximate $10 million in damage.

Speaking about the storm's price tag for the first time at a community meeting Tuesday, Hudson River Park Trust president Madelyn Wils said the city-state partnership will have to fix the 5-mile park gradually as funds become available. 

"We're having to handle repairs piece by piece," she said. 

Before the storm, Hudson River Park, which runs along Manhattan's west side waterfront from Battery Park to West 59th Street, faced a projected $80 million deficit over the next 10 years. 

The $10 million assessment was reached by park staff and outside marina engineers, electrical engineers and others, Wils said. 

And the figure may climb. The longer the park stays closed, the more money the trust loses, Wils said. 

"We have a loss of revenue from parking, special events and permit fields," she said. 

The trust has applied for storm assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Wils said. 

The storm damage has left thousands of New Yorkers without popular playgrounds and athletic fields. 

Piers 25 in TriBeCa, 40 and 46 in the West Village, 54 in the Meatpacking District and 84 in Hell's Kitchen are all closed until further notice, though inspections have found the foundations of all the piers survived the storm's battering.

And the entire park closes at dusk until further notice because electricity to power the lighting is still down. Engineers are evaluating damage to the electrical system now. 

"It's probably going to take a few months," Wils said. 

Proposals for raising funds for the park include the creation of a neighborhood improvement district that would tax nearby property owners and generate an estimated $10 million annually.

Supporters of the HRPT-backed plan say the tax would be modest, at 7.5 cents per square foot for residential property owners and twice that for commercial property owners. Opponents say the tax would be just another bill to pay, and they feared the cash would support commercial uses of the park rather than rebuilding piers. 

To be created, the NID plan would need to be approved by the City Planning Commission and City Council. 

Another plan, from an alliance of athletic groups that use the pier and call themselves Pier 40 Champions, would enhance Pier 40's ball fields and build two 15-story towers for residential or commercial use to generate revenue.