They’re going to need some different boats.
That’s the response of one Brooklyn Bridge Park regular to park management’s call for design submissions from developers competing to operate a marina. The park put out the request for someone to devise and run a 186-boat marina on Pier 5 earlier this week, but it is squandering an opportunity to open up the waterfront to boat-dwelling seafarers from all over, according to a park provocateur.
“What I’m hearing is that the [request for proposals] is not responsive to the needs of the boating community that could be using this from far away,” said Tony Manheim, a member of the park’s community advisory council and longtime critic of private projects in the green space.
At issue is the fact that the park’s proposal outlines a set of docks free of live-aboard sailboats, reserved exclusively for commercial use and docking by sailors with places to stay on land. The marina operator the park chooses will get a 30-year lease and the boat-plex will accommodate only private, inhabitant-free pleasure craft and commercial ventures such as sailing clubs, charter services, and boat rentals, according to a request for proposals released by the Brooklyn Bridge Park corporation, meaning no bachelors can make like Tom Hanks in “Sleepless in Seattle” in Brooklyn’s front yard any time soon, and tugboats are out, too.
“Live-aboards would present a whole set of other issues as we run a public park,” said Regina Myer, the present of the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Manheim says he supports the idea of a marina, which has long been a part of the plan for the waterfront green space that is relying on private projects including a hotel and luxury condos for its annual funding, but that he has a boatload of questions about what it will look like. Chief among them is his concern about whether the space between Pier 5 and Pier 4 to the north, roughly the size of 24 Olympic swimming pools, can accommodate all those boats.
In addition to the marina, the park also is looking for a company to run a roller rink on Pier 2 and a concession stand on Pier 5. Pier 2 is not yet open to the public, but will also include facilities for shuffleboard, basketball, bocce ball, basketball, and handball, as well as concessions, according to plans released by the park.
The roller rink is already under construction and is predicted to open in early 2014, along with the rest of Pier 2, according to a park spokeswoman.
Brooklyn Bridge Park has not estimated the cost of the marina’s construction, but Pier 2, including the roller rink, will cost $25 million to build, the spokeswoman said.