2013-03-15 / Top Stories

Request For Proposals

Parks Seeks Bikes, Kayaks, Concessions
By Katie McFadden

New York City Parks and the National Parks Service wants you! The city and federal parks groups have come together in a mission to bring more new visitors to the Jamaica Bay area and they’re requesting proposals for things such as bike rentals, kayak rentals and food concessions to come to the area.

Parks and NPS have issued three Requests for Proposals for the installation, operation and maintenance of kayak rental stations, bike rental stations and mobile food units on City and Federal parkland.

The idea for these amenities was inspired by the highly successful concessions of the Rockaway Beach Club from Beach 74th Street to Beach 106th Street. These hip food joints brought in swarms of new visitors to Rockaway Park during the summer and Parks and NPS are hoping similar projects can do the same for Riis Park and areas around Jamaica Bay.

Betsy Smith, the assistant commissioner for revenue and marketing for Parks noted that this project was in the works before Sandy hit. It wasn’t intended to be a storm relief project, but it has the potential to boost tourism.

“I think this is going to be a great way to get people to come out,” Smith said. “We’re excited about it.”

Like the concessions of the Rockaway Beach Club, they’re hoping for a variety of food vendors to come forward with proposals. “We’re looking for a variety of healthy food choices as well as typical beach snacks,” Rita Mullally, NPS District Manager for Jamaica Bay said. She noted that Riis Park employees and visitors were more satisfied when there was a variety of food choices available in the area, about 12 years ago.

Parks and NPS aren’t just looking to draw in crowds with good eats. They also want to introduce kayak and bike rentals to the area to give visitors the opportunity to see Jamaica Bay, the parks and other parts of the peninsula, in a way in which they may not have been able to enjoy it before.

They’re hoping that kayak rentals will give visitors the chance to get an up-close look at the various marshes, inlets and wildlife around Jamaica Bay while enjoying a fun activity.

With bike rentals, they’re hoping they receive a proposal for a hop-on, hop-off service, which would allow visitors to rent a bike at one proposed location and drop it off at another location. Bike rentals would allow guests to access areas like the runways at Floyd Bennett Field, the trails at Ft. Tilden and the bike paths around the peninsula.

The City and Federal groups have proposed locations for where they’d want each of these services, with many of them conveniently located near public transportation. These sites include the Riis Landing where the ferry drops off and picks up visitors and locations near various bus stops in Riis Park. They also have proposed bike and kayak rental locations in Floyd Bennett Field and Charles Park in Howard Beach.

The groups are encouraging those who plan to submit a proposal to attend an on-site proposer meeting and to take a tour of these various locations on March 20th at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will take place at the Gateway National Recreation Area’s Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field.

Those interested in submitting a proposal have until April 8th to do so. The RFPs can be obtained from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Revenue Division of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, located at 830 Fifth Avenue, Room 407, New York, NY 10065. They can also be downloaded at http://www.nyc.gov/parks/businesso pportunities. Click on the “Concessions Opportunities at Parks” link and download the appropriate proposal form.

Parks and NPS will review the submitted proposals and will then work immediately towards getting these projects set up in time for the upcoming summer season.

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