Amid ongoing Pier 40 fix, Trust will try to ‘minimize’ impact

Young ball players at a Greenwich Village Little League opening day a few years ago at Pier 40. Photo by Tequila Minsky

BY SYDNEY PEREIRA | The Hudson River Park Trust is making headway on its renovation plan for Downtowners’ sports haven, Pier 40.

Since repairs began in late April on the pier’s roughly 3,600 piles — the steel columns upon which the pier sits — the Trust’s contractors have repaired about 700, or 20 percent of them, so far, according to a Trust spokesperson.

So far, the seven-phase construction project currently has two contractors on site working on phases one and two, which together are budgeted at $21 million.

The Trust will put the project’s next two phases out to bid shortly, according to a spokesperson. An additional aspect of the project involves removing a collapsed former combined-sewer outfall, for which the contractor is also already on site.

The $104 million project to repair the W. Houston St. pier’s pilings is being funded mostly by $100 million the Trust received last year after selling 200,000 square feet of development rights a.k.a. “air rights” from the pier to the St. John’s Building development project across the West Side Highway.

Shortly after the repairs began, Trust President Madelyn Wils told The Villager the corroding piles are just one facet of the larger infrastructure issues at Pier 40. In recent years, the Trust has completely redone or replaced the pier’s entire sprinkler system and all its fire alarms, plus added a new fire-suppression system, along with new lighting in the garage. Bricks on the northside of the pier-shed building also still need to be repaired.

“I’m talking millions and millions and millions of dollars,” Wils said in May. “This is just current work.”

The Diamonds, at this past season’s Greenwich Village Little League, opening day, know that Pier 40, at W. Houston St., is the jewel of the 4.5-mile-long Hudson River Park.

Fear over the future of Pier 40 comes up in myriad community issues for Downtowners. Recently, the Village Community School cited Pier 40’s precarious future as a part of the school’s planned gym expansion. At a meeting this month about Battery Park City’s resiliency plan to protect its ball fields, Downtown Soccer League members raised concerns that local field space would be further squeezed if playing fields in Battery Park City and at Pier 40 go offline simultaneously.

The Trust has said that large areas of the huge courtyard field at Pier 40 are not expected to close during the pile repairs, though parts of the pier’s deck — upon which the field sits — may have to be drilled with holes as access points for divers and equipment to reach the piles.

Since April, no portions of the pier have had to be closed, a spokesperson said.

The process of how the piles are repaired is at the crux of whether or not field space would go temporarily offline.

After cleaning a pile of algae, a steel cage is installed around it. A fiberglass jacket around the steel cage is then filled with concrete. Divers repairing the piles are limited by how far away from the pier they can work, particularly when pumping concrete into the fiberglass jacket.

A Trust spokesperson said the Trust has “promised to notify field users in advance and to continue to endeavor to minimize field disruptions, if any such construction is needed.”

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