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Funding to Rebuild Cromwell Center Included in City Council Budget Proposal
By Nicholas Rizzi | April 5, 2017 4:09pm
STATEN ISLAND — The City Council is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fund the reconstruction of the demolished Cromwell Recreation Center in next year's budget.
The council included rebuilding the center — proposed for Lyons Pool on what's now a parking lot and estimated to cost between $90 to $100 million — in its response to the mayor's preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018.
"Mayor de Blasio has signaled that rebuilding Cromwell would be part of our discussions for a potential rezoning of the Bay Street Corridor. However, this is something we need now," Councilwoman Debi Rose, whose district the center is in, said in a statement.
"Cromwell is not about planning for future growth, it’s about meeting the needs of people already here," she added. "Including Cromwell in our budget response is an important step forward."
The Parks Department completed a $700,000 study in February to evaluate three locations for the center, and chose a plan that would build the new facility on top of Lyons Pool's parking lot, which is across the street from the old center.
The plan calls for a three-story, 95,000-square-foot building with four multi-sport courts with competition-sized basketball courts and play spaces for children and teens, according to the Parks Department.
The cty would also demolish the unused diving pool at the site and replace it with a new children's playground and splash park.
The original Cromwell Center opened on Pier 6 in Tompkinsville in 1936, but partially collapsed in 2010 and was eventually demolished in 2013, the Staten Island Advance reported.
Since then, a group called Let's Rebuild Cromwell Recreation Center has been pushing the city to replace the facility, and Borough President James Oddo included the project in his "Quadrangle Offense" plan to put four community centers in the North Shore.
The Parks Department did not have a timeline or funding for the project yet, but said at a Community Board 1 meeting in February that it would happen after de Blasio's plan to build a $50 million indoor pool in the borough.
In its budget response, the City Council wrote that with the huge wave of redevelopment heading to the neighborhood, the area needs the center sooner than later.
"In the very vicinity of Cromwell Recreation Center’s former location, Staten Island’s North Shore waterfront is experiencing the largest economic development project in over 30 years, with the development of a new court house, an observation wheel, malls with high end stores, a luxury hotel, and exclusive waterfront apartments,” the council's response reads.
“Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for public use facilities. Staten Island has not broken ground on a single facility for public use on the North Shore waterfront."
The City published a revision to the Draft Scope of work for the Bay Street rezoning that impacts this lot. Here is the text from: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/applicants/env-review/bay-street-corridor/draft-scope-of-work.pdf
Stapleton Waterfront Phase III
In the future condition at the time of the build year, absent the Proposed Actions, Site A would remain vacant.
Under the Proposed Actions, it is expected that the site would be disposed to a private developer and developed with 319 dwelling units and 43,000 sf of local retail uses.
In the future condition at the time of the build year, absent the Proposed Actions, Site B1 would remain vacant.
Under the Proposed Actions, it is expected that the site would be disposed to a private developer and developed with approximately 308,000 sf (308 dwelling units) of residential uses."
The public will be able to submit comments on the draft scope of work, linked to below, through July 15 according to DCP.
Let's Rebuild Cromwell Community Coalition, in collaboration with NYCommons, is hosting workshops Thursday 5/26 and Wednesday 6/8 in the evening to develop a community response and strategy for the Bay St Corridor rezoning, including this lot/the Stapleton Waterfront. Info at facebook.com/letsrebuildcromwell or @RebuildCromwell. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates from DCP are here: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/plans/bay-street-corridor/bay-street-corridor.page
They also have a feedback form for community input: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/plans/bay-street-corridor/bstreet-feedback.page
Department of City Planning will have a hearing on the draft scope on Wednesday, June 15 at 6pm at 309 Saint Pauls Ave on Staten Island NY 10304 to get the public's input about the document linked above. If you don't think that the City should be planning to transfer this huge piece of land to a private developer, plan to come to the meeting.
This lot is included in the plans to rezone the Bay Street Corridor, a draft of which can be found here:
"Stapleton Waterfront Phase III In the future condition at the time of the build year, absent the Proposed Actions, the site would be expected to be disposed to a private developer and developed with a residential and local retail project consistent with Housing New York and pursuant with the existing zoning. Site A would be developed with 319 dwelling units and 43,000 sf of local retail uses in a building with a maximum height of 125 feet."
The above is what the City already plans to do with this site. Below are the changes to these plans that the rezoning would create.
"Under the Proposed Actions, it is expected that the site would be disposed to a private developer and developed with the same square footage of residential and local retail uses. However, with a 125 foot height limit the same square footage can be constructed on the lot with an improved bulk distribution. The additional 35 feet would allow flexibility in the building form and a varied distribution of height and bulk rather than a single long building mass parallel to Front Street and the waterfront. Site B1, directly to the south across Front Street, is currently occupied by the DOT Dockbuilder’s Unit. Their facility was damaged during Hurricane Sandy and the Dockbuilder’s Unit will be relocated to a new pier facility on the same property. Construction of that pier will occur independent of the Proposed Actions and prior to the build year. In the future condition at the time of the build year, absent the Proposed Actions, the site would be expected to be disposed to a private developer and developed with a residential project consistent with Housing New York and pursuant with the existing zoning. Site B1 would be developed with 308 dwelling units in a building with a maximum height of 125 feet."
Lot 100 still belongs to the City.
In documents filed on 12/23/15 in connection to the sale of nearby properties, it was called “Excess City Land” and was explicitly separated from the lots that make up the private development.
December 08, 2015 at 10:33 AM
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Island is getting a sculpture park.
"MakerPark," as it's tentatively called, will be a public park located across the street from Stapleton's SI MakerSpace workshop on 450 Front St.
It should be mostly complete by the spring or summer of 2016, said DB Lampman, co-founder of S.I. MakerSpace, which is facilitating the empty lot's conversion.
The lot is owned by the city, but Lampman and her husband/co-founder Scott Van Campen acquired a license to beautify it through the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Hyperlapse: 'The Dance' comes together at Conference House Park
Watch in fast-motion what took several hours to piece together: DB Lampman's "The Dance" suspended installation at Conference House Park. (Video by Lauren Steussy)
Lampman, whose large sculpture of ghostly dancers is currently installed at Conference House Park, envisions a sculpture park similar to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens. The park provides artists with opportunities to exhibit large-scale outdoor sculpture installations.
"The last couple years, we've been looking at this horrible lot and wanted to do something with it," Lampman said.
Lampman and Van Campen designed a plan that would allow visiting artists to build pieces on-site and display them like public art. She's already looking at a few proposals, and hopes their twice-a-year residency program will draw in talented artists to fill the park with public art.
Inside the 'idea factory,' Staten Island MakerSpace
Staten Island MakerSpace seems to be churning out a lot of great creations. So what's going on in that nondescript warehouse building?
The park represents an expansion of the MakerSpace, which has filled a prominent space in the community since it opened up about two years ago. The converted warehouse, members have access to equipment like welding machines, sewing machines and three-dimensional printers.
They offer crafting workshops and space for "makers" to work on projects. They're also behind some of the borough's most innovative creations over the past two years, from a mobile classroom, to a bicycle library.
"The park is sort of an extension of what we do here at the MakerSpace," she said.
In addition to the sculptures, Lampman and Van Campen have already established connections, like one with the Historic Tappen Park Community Partnership, that will allow school children to contribute to pieces and learn vocational skills.
"Part of what we're going to have them do is learn those skills, like welding and carpentry, and then they help us work on projects in the park," Lampman said. "That's exciting because they're kids from the neighborhood that need job skills and training, and this will also be a park where they build something that's part of the community."
Though the city is helping them clear the lot of debris and trash this week, Lampman and Van Campen will pay out-of-pocket for the rest of the renovations. They plan on fundraising over the next year and making repairs little by little with the help of volunteers.
"If someone could donate fencing we would love that," Lampman laughed. "But on the low-end, we'll be having workshops this spring on things like building planter boxes, so we'll hopefully get some help from the community."
For the future, Lampman and Van Campen will likely select installations that encompass some of their own values of sustainability and "maker" culture.
"We think some of the projects will lean toward that direction, but we're also just happy to have artwork there that's just beautiful," she said. "It doesn't have to be anything else."