WEST VILLAGE — Joggers, bikers and dog-walkers who once used Hudson River Park after nightfall have been shut out since Hurricane Sandy knocked out the lights in the 5-mile-long park — but officials revealed last week they plan to have most of the waterfront recreation space lit again by mid-May.
Hudson River Park Trust crews working overtime to repair the damage are trying to restore the full hours of the waterfront park that runs from Battery Park to West 59th Street from its current dusk closing time to its previous 1 a.m. closure, officials said Friday.
But the pricetag of repairs to the park, which has closed come nightfall since Sandy hit Oct. 29, are now expected to top $20 million — double the initial estimate of $10 million given in November — Trust president and CEO Madelyn Wils said.
"It's just a massive project, like repairing a small town," Wils said, adding that the entirety of the repair work, which also seeks to mitigate the damage of potential future flooding, is set to be complete by early July.
"I expect by mid-May the lights will be back up," Wils said about the waterside esplanade. The damaged electrical cables along the Hudson River alone stretch 30,000 feet, she said.
The repair work is initially being covered by the Trust's reserve funds, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to reimburse the Trust for the "majority" of the cost, she said. The Trust is seeking city and state funding for the remainder, Wils said.
Locals say they look forward to being able to stroll through the greenery at night.
West Village resident Kimberly Wang, a photographer, said she missed being able to walk her 8-year-old border collie Theodore and 1-year-old foster dog Lila along the river at night.
"This is such a beautiful park, especially when everyone is out in the evenings," she said.
Community Board 2 chairman David Gruber praised the efforts of the Trust to restore the park. The nighttime outage hurts locals, he said.
"It cuts down on people's use of the park."
For a neighborhood with limited park space, the longstanding power outage means city kids who get little time surrounded by greenery can't ride their bikes or scooters along the Hudson River after they leave sports activities at Pier 40, West Village resident and father of two Chris McGinnis said.
"The Hudson River Park, for families who live on the West Side, is a critical resource," he said.