Staten Island Structure Collapses; No Injuries

May 28, 2010

A corner of a Staten Island recreation center caved in Wednesday and sank into the water.

The New York Fire Department said the building was vacant and no injuries were reported. It said the investigation was ongoing.

The George Cromwell Recreation Center on Pier 6 had recently been closed for renovations, including a new roof and new support framing, according to New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe said in a statement that construction was not under way yet and no engineers were at the site. He said the $4.4 million construction plan would have also included installation of three bay piles to support the deck, along with corrosion prevention.

Borough president James P. Molinaro said he did not think the building could be saved.

“I think we’re going to have to sit down and plan and create another Cromwell Center on land,” he said.

Benepe said that once the investigation is complete, the department will determine how the construction plans need to be altered.

U.S. Rep. Michael McMahon expressed concern over the collapse.

“As we all know, Cromwell has been serving the community for generations and was recently closed by the City due to deteriorating physical conditions,” he said in a statement. “I am just thankful that the City had the foresight to close it when they did. Otherwise, we’d be facing a very different situation today.”

The center was named after Staten Island’s first borough president. It was built by the Works Progress Administration in the mid-1930s for $1 million. It underwent a $5 million restoration in 2000.

In fiscal year 2008, the center had about 2,860 active members, according to the parks department.

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