Million-dollar bathrooms for Battery Park City’s Wagner Park

The bathrooms at Wagner Park will be renovated at a cost of nearly $1 million. Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony.
The bathrooms at Wagner Park will be renovated at a cost of nearly $1 million. Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony.

BY SAM SPOKONY | ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED FEB. 14, 2014  |  The Battery Park City Authority says it’s planning a major renovation of the aging public bathrooms in Robert F. Wagner Park, and currently estimates that the job could cost nearly $1 million.

The 18-year-old bathrooms are, for now, still in service for visitors of the park — which sits adjacent to historic Battery Park — but have reportedly become much harder to maintain in recent years.

“The planned upgrade will replace equipment and fixtures which are very nearly depleted, decrease the amount and cost of required upkeep, significantly improve lighting and provide an air circulation system, making the restrooms a much better experience for the public,” said Robin Forst, a B.P.C.A. spokesperson.

The authority first put out a request for proposals (R.F.P.) for the project this past December, following an initial study of the site. Now, after receiving responses from three construction firms, it is nearly ready to approve a contract for the job, according to Chairperson Dennis Mehiel, who raised the issue at the Feb. 18 B.P.C.A. board meeting.

Using an estimate from the initial study, the board agreed to cap its expenses for the contract at around $926,000, pending an additional, “double-check” study within the next week that seeks to confirm the figure.

While the project may be approved soon, the renovations likely won’t take place until after this summer, Mehiel said at the meeting, in order to prevent an extended closure of the bathrooms during those extremely busy months for the park.

But although the overhaul may be welcomed by plenty of local park lovers, there is at least one Battery Park City resident who’s already unhappy with how the job is being done.

“I certainly wish they would’ve told us about it,” said Anthony Notaro, chairperson of Community Board 1’s B.P.C. Committee, who was unaware of the plans when Downtown Express reached him for comment on Feb. 18. “This has been such a serious problem lately,” he continued, “because [our committee] always wants to know about the B.P.C.A.’s capital budget, and how it’s spending money on infrastructure, but then we always find out about things like this after the fact.”

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