BY JOSH ROGERS |Most of Tribeca’s Pier 25 is expected to reopen to the public Monday but the beloved playground is months away from being rebuilt after being ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The playground is closest to land but it fared much worse than the rest of the pier because of damage done to the underground water system that keeps toddlers sprinkled, cool and entertained through the summer.
The Hudson River Park Trust, the state-city authority which manages the park, has not yet determined precisely what happened to the sprinkler pipes, but the damage bubbled to the surface, severely damaging the playground above.
The turf field and beach volleyball court, both much further out into the Hudson River, looked virtually pristine during a visit Mon., Dec. 3. The volleyball court though, will remain closed indefinitely because the sand will have to be replaced after having been submerged in the river.
The rest of the pier will be open Monday with hopes of reopening the playground in the spring, said a Trust spokesperson.
Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president and CEO, said as the agency looks to reopen the rest of the park, it’ll look for areas where it can place equipment higher, but “there’s only a certain number of places where you can raise things.”
She said in some cases, building codes would have to be changed in order to relocate electrical equipment, which was responsible for causing damage to the park in a few areas.
Wils said they will install different foam in the playground for better protection in the future. She will be getting estimates to repair Pier 25 and the rest of the park in the next few weeks.
Pier 25 is likely to get $200,000 for repairs thanks to a $100,000 matching grant donation made by an anonymous board member of Friends of Hudson River Park, a non-profit group that works closely with the Trust. Officials expect the repairs to cost significantly more than that though.
Nearby Pier 40 with its large ballfields is also getting help with $50,000 of donations from local youth groups that use the field. The field is expected to reopen within a few weeks.
Most of the park was able to reopen relatively quickly, thanks to the work of staff, contractors and hundreds of volunteers, Wils wrote in a letter posted on the Trust’s web site.