Pier 25 Playground to Reopen by May

Pier 25's popular playground will be ready for an official reopening in May, Hudson River Park Trust President Madelyn Wils said, following the Trust board approval late last month of a nearly half-million dollar contract to rebuild the outdoor space.

The popular children’s playground was badly damaged by floodwater from Sandy, and has been closed since the storm.

At the waterfront playground, contractors will be salvaging and reusing existing pavers, installing new gravel and play safety surfacing and reinstalling displaced playground features, Wils told the board.

The Trust expects about three-fourths of its Sandy repairs to be covered by FEMA. However, the reimbursement process can be lengthy. As of the end of January, FEMA had yet to disperse cash for any damage incurred during Hurricane Irene in 2011, Wils said.

Friends of Hudson River Park has held several fundraisers to help with repairs, so the Trust won't have to deplete its reserve funds. So far, the group has raised more than a half-million dollars since the Hurricane Sandy for a park playground fund and a “Tribeca Beautification Fund,” said Friends of Hudson River Park Executive Director A. J. Pietrantone.

“The response for the community has been really terrific,” Pietrantone said. “We couldn't have asked for more.”

The group organized several fundraisers for the playground, including one at the home of Community Board 1 Tribeca Committee Chair Peter Braus and his wife, Kaija, that brought in $170,000. The fundraising efforts were aided by a $100,000 challenge grant by a Friends board member.

Cash from the Beautification fund may help with other damaged areas on Pier 25, such as the damaged volleyball courts, Pietrantone said.