2006-11-23 / Top Stories

Gateway Official Says Community Input Essential For Pier Progress

By Dara Mormile

Gateway official Pete McCarthy (standing) speaks at UCSCA meeting. President Neal Duncan, left, and Vice President Lenny Fogel take notes. 
Gateway official Pete McCarthy (standing) speaks at UCSCA meeting. President Neal Duncan, left, and Vice President Lenny Fogel take notes. Residents are going to have to be patient and give more input to Gateway National Park Service officials if they want to see progress at the Canarsie Pier. At last week's United Canarsie South Civic Association (UCSCA) meeting, Gateway's Pete McCarthy informed attendees that the process of finding a concessionaire to occupy the property that formerly housed Abbraccia-mento's Restaurant starts with public discussion.

"We're currently evaluating the facilities, assessing the property and concessionaire possibilities. Requests For Proposals (RFP) are predicated on what the conditions of that building are," he said. "We haven't gotten the results back from the contractor in response to Congressman Ed Towns' request to look at the site. It's a long, drawn-out process but we are more than willing to work with the community on putting something there that will serve a much-needed recreational purpose."

McCarthy said Gateway only provides facilities geared towards sports-related activities. Restaurants and fast food chains are not considered for their parks. He also said officials are presently looking into providing a mobile food service at the pier during the summer months on weekends when the pier is heavily populated

The Gateway spokesman added that $200,000 has been allocated to renovate the visitor contact station at the pier, which includes drainage around the facility, and is expected to begin next year. Renovations completed thus far include new surfaces on the playground area.

"We're also trying to address the rodent problem," he said. "While there is a decrease in rodent presence, there are two things that attract them - water and fish. We're trying to be more pro-active when it comes to getting rid of them. That means cleaning leftover bait and power washing the pier. Unfortunately, the demand for personnel exceeds what we can provide in terms of keeping the park in good condition. We are definitely un-derstaffed."

Some residents asked if restroom hours could be extended. "The only problem with keeping the bathrooms open - especially during the off-season months - is not having the manpower," McCarthy answered.

UCSCA president Neal Duncan said, "As a community, we have to get involved in this process and I think we should start bringing in laborers such as electricians and carpenters, now - during the early stages and take advantage of whatever economic resources we have, since Gateway is giving us this opportunity and including us in the process."

"We know the appearance at the pier isn't always the best," said McCar-thy. "It's a frustrating experience to go there sometimes, but we're going to make a pro-active pursuit in making it better."

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