Law Change May Help Restore Crumbling Pier 40, Groups Says

The group overseeing Pier 40 on the West Side of Manhattan wants to change the law to allow for new kinds of commerce to help generate revenue for the crumbling, cash-strapped structure.

The Hudson River Park Trust said in a budget hearing Thursday that it projected a $80 million deficit in the next decade. Fixing the roof, which is caving in, and the deteriorating pilings holding up the pier could cost as much as $100 million, according to the Trust.

“If you give somebody a development opportunity where they can make a return on their capital, you tell them to fix it,” said Arthur Schwartz, chairman of the park's advisory council.

The pier, located at West Houston and the West Side Highway, is home to baseball fields and a trapeze facility.

The 1998 law that created the Hudson River Park Trust only allows retail and entertainment development at the pier. Proposals that included plans for both were rejected in 2002 and 2005.

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick -- who represents parts of Manhattan's lower west side -- said more development could deprive the community of the park space.

“I don't believe that the West Side of Manhattan is lacking in large residential or hotel housing. We're lacking in open recreational space,” Glick said.

Glick says since the park generates economic activity for the city, local and state government should provide the funds to pay for repairs.

She also says the group should look into other ways to pay for the park that don’t include development like starting a park improvement district that would raise funds from the community to support the park.