Page 39 - vol3_#7_Rockaway Times_IM_v8

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Page 39
THURSDAY, AUGUST 4, 2016
The Rockaway Times
ing eventually ran out and
the work stopped. Between
years of neglect, damage
from Tropical Storm Irene
and then even more destruc-
tion by Hurricane Sandy, the
bathhouse has seen better
days. But there may be bright
days ahead for this historic
building’s future.
Since December, Lee Con-
struction has been cleaning
up the space, conducting
renovations and making the
building more storm resilient.
The contractor filled about
35 to 40 dumpsters with de-
bris and deteriorated material
from the building, including
bird droppings and bird car-
casses. Work is expected to
be completed by late Novem-
ber. “They’ve been doing a lot
of Sandy recovery work and
repairs. Instead of fixing the
building completely, they’re
making the building more re-
silient by adding roll up doors
on the first floor so that wa-
ter could flow through in the
event of another storm and
cleaning out the second and
third floors for whatever leas-
ing opportunity comes this
way,” Jennifer Nersesian, su-
perintendent of Gateway Na-
tional Recreation Area, said.
That leasing opportunity
will be open to anyone who
is looking to put the building
to good use. In recent years,
Riis Park has started to come
back to life with the addition
of the concessions brought in
through the Riis Park Beach
Bazaar, and now NPS is look-
ing for an outfit to add to the
revitalization of Riis by do-
ing something with the four
buildings and two courtyards
at the bathhouse site.
It is expected that within
the next month or two, NPS
will issue a Request for Pro-
posals (RFP) for interested
parties to propose ideas. De-
tails about the RFP have not
yet been disclosed, but it will
be open to anyone who is in-
terested in putting the work
into this large project, while
maintaining the historic as-
pects. “There are certain cri-
teria that must be met, such
as compatibility of the pro-
posal's intended use with re-
spect to preservation, protec-
tion and visitor enjoyment of
the park, financial capability,
and experience. Since this is a
historic property the compat-
ibility of the proposal with the
historic qualities of the prop-
erty is also a selection criteri-
on,” Daphne Yun of Gateway’s
Public Affairs office said.
The interior of the build-
ing would require modifi-
cation, which is permitted,
as long as the historical as-
pects are maintained. A max-
imum of a 60-year lease can
be offered, but NPS may give
shorter leases higher consid-
eration. “We’ll probably look
for the shortest lease just to
try whatever it is out,” Nerse-
sian said. Proposals would
also have to include a way to
accommodate the lifeguards
that occupy the building in
the summer.
On Friday, July 29, the Rock-
away Times took a tour of this
historic space as Nersesian,
Yun and a representative from
Lee Construction led the way
through the three floors of
the main building. With the
exception of the lifeguard
area and bathrooms, most
of the first floor is now open
and aired out. The contrac-
tor will install roll-up gates
that can enclose the area,
but will allow for water to
roll through the building in
the event of a future storm.
NPS encourages those who
provide proposals to utilize
this first floor area, but sug-
gest it be filled with items
that could easily be removed
in the event of a storm. The
second floor of the building
maintains the historic light
blue tiling but much of the
flooring has been removed,
due to damage and several
years of birds remains col-
lecting over time, but there
are no more signs of that oth-
er than inside the two towers
on the third floor. When in-
side the second floor, you’re
able to grasp the idea of just
how long the building is as
the east and west wings seem
to extend beyond sight when
standing in the middle.
The building’s third floor
will likely be the biggest
selling point for any inves-
tor. The view can’t be beat.
Aside from the towers, the
third floor contains a wide-
open floor space that would
make the perfect spot for
a rooftop bar, restaurant
or dance space as it over-
looks the ocean. We were
lucky enough to spot some
dolphins swimming along
beyond the lifeguards who
were training on the over-
cast weekday. The Bath-
house could be the next Riis
Park hotspot depending on
who leases it and what they
do. More details about the
RFP will be in the Rockaway
Times once it is released.
RIIS PARK
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