2001-05-12 / Front Page

Sports Complex Slated For Floyd Bennett

Sports Complex Slated For Floyd Bennett

Ice Skating, Basketball, Swimming Eyed in RFP By Howard Schwach

Rockaway residents have been yelling for years that the peninsula has little in the way of recreational amenities for both young and old.

That might change, however, if Gateway National Park has its way. The National Park Service has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) that should begin the bidding to build a sports complex at Floyd Bennett Field.

While there are those who have opposed the "commercialization" of the historic airfield in the past, there are many who believe that the development of the park by private investors is critical to maintaining the entire park.

"We will never be able to do the restorations we want to do without a private funding stream," Congressman Anthony Weiner told The Wave. "As long as the development is recreational and not commercial, it will be a plus for both the communities surrounding the park and for the park itself."

According to the RFP, any private developer who is interested in building and operating the sports complex has until early September to submit a proposal to the Park Service.

The mandate of the RFP is that the developer "renovate the exteriors and interiors of two of the existing hangers to include a year-round ‘family sports facilities such as basketball courts and skating rinks."

Renovation of the hangers is expected to cost approximately $3.5 million and the developer must incur that cost.

Those who are opposed to the development argue that it would cause traffic problems on Flatbush Avenue, especially during the summer rush when thousands of people are leaving Rockaway after a day at the beach.

They also question the use of private development money in a public park and the insertion of anything in the park that is not related to aviation – the "historic" use of the former civilian and military airfield.

Weiner says that he is not sure what the RFP’s will bring.

"It is too soon to say what the developers will want to do."

He hopes that it will mirror some of the things that were done at the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.

"At the least," Weiner said, "Rockaway residents will have access to a skating rink and a basketball court that can host championship games."

Those who are interested in responding to the RFP should contact the business management office at the Gateway National Recreation Area at Floyd Bennett Field.

Return to top

Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2016 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History



Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio