26-Acre Water Park Approved

Water park concession awarded to Aquatic Development Group. The City’s Department of Parks & Recreation and the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation obtained approval for a 26-acre, indoor-outdoor water park on Randall’s Island. The water park will include 18.7 acres of outdoor wave pools, slides, and a circular waterway, along with a 7.25-acre glass-roofed, indoor facility that will provide the same attractions during cold weather. It will be the first urban water park in the United States. Approval of the water park required a major concession approval from the Commission pursuant to the City’s Charter §197(c) and a determination of consistency under the City and state waterfront revitalization plan.

Following Parks’ 1998 Randall’s Island master plan, which included the water park, the Economic Development Corporation issued a request for proposals for the water park’s construction and operation, ultimately selecting Aquatic Development Group, Inc. The project site currently contains open space, 10 baseball diamonds and a 123-space surface parking lot. The 10 diamonds will be relocated, expanded, and improved as part of the master plan. Parking for the water park and other new attractions will be accommodated by construction of a 2,800-space parking facility beneath the spans of the Triborough Bridge. Free shuttles will taxi people from the parking location to the water park and the park’s other new facilities.

At the Commission hearing, EDC detailed the number of buses per weekend that leave Manhattan heading for New Jersey’s suburban water parks, and provided projections of the water park’s revenue. Philip Habib, the project traffic engineer, answered multiple questions from Commissioners Irwin Cantor and Angela Battaglia on the impact to Triborough Bridge traffic.

The Commission approved the concession by a unanimous vote after receiving a written commitment of job outreach and ticket affordability. The Commission found that the project will provide Harlem and South Bronx residents with additional job opportunities and increase City revenue.

ULURP Process: Parks, as lead agency, issued a negative declaration on April 23, 2004. On June 15th, Manhattan Community Board 11 recommended approval and, on June 29th, Borough President C. Virginia Fields agreed. Following the August 11, 2004 public hearing, the Commission approved on September 8, 2004. Council must still vote on the Project.

CPC: Randall’s Island Aquatic Center (C 040459 MCM major concession) (September 8, 2004) (Joshua Laird, for Parks; Richard J. Davis, Esq., Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, Aimee Boden, for Randall’s Island Sports Foundation; Jared Brunnabend, Project Manager, for EDC).

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