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The cash-strapped Gateway National Recreation Area doesn’t have enough dough to perform a thorough evaluation of the Canarsie Pier, much less repair it, the Digest has learned.
National Park officials admitted this week they were still waiting for the funding needed for an “extensive report” on what will be needed to fix the Canarsie Pier — the first step in its longtime dream of becoming a borough destination.
“That report is going to require a tremendous amount of funding,” explained David Taft, coordinator of the Jamaica Bay Unit. “We’re waiting for the funding to get that report completed.”
The news comes in stark contrast to what the government told us just two weeks ago.
Then, Taft said a thorough review of the pier’s needs was already completed, and Gateway was just waiting for the funding to get the repairs done.
Taft said the claim, which was easily refuted with one call to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which conducts these types of studies, was “a misunderstanding.”
“We don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression,” he said.
Yet the impression is pretty clear: If Gateway wants to bring new life, or even a new concession, to the Canarsie Pier, they have to repair the cherished neighborhood wharf first.
After an exhaustive search for “expressions of interest” on bringing a concession to the old Abbraciamento’s Restaurant on the Canarsie Pier, no one bit — mostly because the building requires repairs that could cost millions.
Compounding the problem were rumors that the pier would have to undergo a massive rehabilitation before the concessionaire could begin the work.
That rumor was undoubtedly sparked by an initial overview of the pier conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2009. Its recommendation: a second, more thorough story was needed.
The pier hasn’t undergone an overhaul in at least 15 years.
Residents fear that the Canarsie Pier will end up like Staten Island’s doomed Cromwell Center, a city-owned building that collapsed when the pier it stood on gave up and fell into the harbor in May.
While no one showed an interest in bringing a concession to the Canarsie Pier, Taft said the National Parks Service did receive a handful of “suggestions” from the public about what they would like to see brought to the pier. Ideas ranged from a new bait shop to a boat dock and farmer’s market, he said.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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