Squibb Park Footbridge Repairs Will Cost $700K, Truth To Cost More

Whatever structural engineering issues are keeping the fancy $5 million Squibb Park Bridge (aka “Bouncy Bridge”) closed until spring must be pretty serious: repairing the distinctively bouncy pedestrian footbridge that failed after only a year will cost about $700,000, and it’s unclear when if ever the public will find out what exactly went wrong. That’s the word straight from the the leadership of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation at a public board meeting on Thursday (2/26).

The BBP board ended up approving the $700,000 repair job as an amendment to an existing contract. Yet when pressed by fellow BBP members about recouping the money or publishing findings on what exactly hobbled the 450-foot-long swaying suspension bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park chair Alicia Glen and president Regina Myer attempted to deflect.

“One question there: we’re offering nearly $700,000 in repairs,” said BBP board member Zeeshan Ott during the meeting. “Is there any we can stipulate that that authorization is contingent on, also an investigation and a public report released on what exactly were the structural concerns there…?”

“Our focus is to get the bridge open and get it fixed,” replied Myer. “Yes, once we have it, um…” before trailing off and pivoting: “The goal is to open the bridge as quickly as possible. It is a very, very important and vital connection to the park. And we focused with our third party engineers on fixing the bridge as quickly as possible. And we have worked with our engineers to ensure we will look into that.”

Steven M. Cohen, BBP board member/lawyer and former top aide to Andrew Cuomo, tried to press the BBP leadership on the issue. “I think the request or question is: what are we doing to pursue recovery of what we’re paying for the remediation? I would assume that whether it was in the design, in the execution of the construction, something clearly went wrong which requires the remediation…”

“We are doing that,” said BBP’s legal counsel. “The priority from a public standpoint is to make sure the bridge is open as soon as possible. We are focused on that. We are not waving any of our legal rights against any parties who could potentially be responsible.”

“But again, just so we’re clear, the answer is you are pursuing that?” Cohen asked. “I understand the priority is opening the bridge, but…”

“We’re doing both at the same time,” Glen said. “We’re going to be getting the bridge open and simultaneously making sure we’re exercising any of our rights under the various assurance and potential claims…these things are not mutually exclusive.”

Ott then noted that it’s important that there’s public confidence in the bridge after it re-opens, and sensibly said that should come in the form of a public report. But when asked about this, Myer waffled, saying leadership had been focusing on using data they’ve gotten from monitoring the bridge, but that they would consider a report. A BBP spokesperson also told The Brooklyn Paper that “work on a study is ongoing” (The Brooklyn Paper’s words) and that repairs would begin soon.

While that report may still materialize and it remains to be seen what happens with recouping the costs of the repairs, the defensive crouching position that BBP park leadership seems to be taking surrounding the Squibb Park Bridge will only add fuel to critics of the board’s transparency (or lack thereof). Meanwhile, the bridge — which opened in March 2013 and closed in September 2014, initially for “2 to 3 weeks” — remains shuttered and off-limits.

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  • ShinyNewHandle

    I don’t think the out-of-towners come for the movie in the park, etc. I think the bulk of them coming from Manhattan finally have a reason to walk the rest of the way across the Brooklyn Bridge, instead of turning back midway. So go ahead and donate…

  • TeddyNYC

    Well, I don’t know if the design of the bridge was unsuitable for the location (based on usage/durability) or if the construction was flawed, based on what we know so far, something definitely went wrong.

  • King Lou

    What I meant by my statement is the design & implementation of an unnecessarily form over function piece of eye candy when something less crazy would do. As I mentioned in my earlier post when the park first opened the “children’s area” had in it several “architectural choices” (aka shining metal heat sinks) which were burning children who tried to use them to play on. I worked with architects for 8 years and have seen my share of absurd choices sold for their cool factor. Usually they end up having to back track and fix all the problems their “radical” design choices cause. $5 million dollars for that bridge? Even if it’s restored to its bouncy state it’s hardly a major show piece. It’s an unnecessary novelty. This report explains why the bridge was closed. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/04/nyregion/Squibb-Park-Bridge-bounces-too-far-and-is-closed-until-the-spring-.html I wouldn’t expect one to hear what was wrong with the bridge until it’s warm again.

  • peterbrooklyn

    It’s been absolutely blissful since that bridge has been closed. No late-night antics or vandalism, no one trying to break the bicycles in their stand. No one stealing kids’ toys out of the playground on Columbia Heights & Middagh. I would pay $700,000 just to keep that ridiculous footbridge closed.

  • dirty money

    ruining the view from the promenade has nothing to do with democracy or anything else we have known. It is an offense to all people of Brooklyn and beyond and it sets a fine example that dirty money and lots of is being spent in NY. These people know that the countries where they are from could at any point proclaim that all personal funds must be appointed to the government. In fact they are planning for it. I am sorry but I don’t want the worlds morbidly wealthiest people buying in this area and ruining views of the bridge that have been cherished for decades. The project is an eyesore and an affront to all except the very few who now own our views.

  • Willow Street Watch

    There was a major concept raised by
    questioner at the BHA annual meeting
    asking the explosive question why
    shouldn’t there be deep Background
    Checks on anyone seeking to build in or around the Height? He was correct
    First he said why couldn’t the BHA
    or someone. react when permits and plans are first filed, not when the
    building or bridge or whatever is
    3/4 s completed…but then why can’t
    we be promptly fully told who the
    person or persons seeking to change
    our environment are? Who are
    they? Who are their associates?
    Where does your finances come
    from? Who do you owe money or favors to?

    Why can’t the BHA or any other public
    Interest entities EVER ask basic questions so vital to Public and
    neighborhood security, like these?

  • Willow Street Watch

    Hey, unless someone big is indicted and
    convicted and/or there is some serious
    assets seizures NOTHING is going to

    Talk all you want, but unless someone reaches into their pocket to finance a
    a real investigation which forces the
    The Attorney General or the US Attorney
    to move, NOTHING will change except…
    things will get worse…

  • T.K. Small

    Like ShinyNewHandle, I was referencing the tourists and not the residents of other parts of Brooklyn.

  • Doug Biviano

    Long live the K.I.S.S. principle — except in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    As a former civil engineer working in the Rocky Mountains who watched designers add unnecessary complexity to harsh environments and drive up maintenance and repair costs, this Brooklyn Heights resident suggested a lower cost switchback down from Squibb Park or if a bridge, a simply supported steel beam like most modern day highway bridges (reason being KISS). A weathered steel (like an old railroad bridge i.e. Barclay Center) would have given it that rustic look with virtually no maintenance.

    I also openly challenged the park and earth moving money consuming mega-berm with no grass to date and the idea of a perched wetland attacking the pier structure relentless from both directions with galvanically corrosive solution and added freeze-thaw. This was done on the blog and at public hearings. One of my main thrusts with my questions was why such high flying complex designs that drive up capital and maintenance costs when high maintenance costs was the pretext for the unwanted and unprecedented Condos in the park (technically not a park but development) and if you recall we didn’t have the capital to build the park. I also questioned the safety of many of the park elements “designed” for the children (canned laughter).

    Nobody in the park development corp listened, cared or even remotely considered them. In this board meeting park development officials held true to their disdain of any accountability, they poo-poo any questions of accountability even with this latest million dollar blunder with the bouncy bridge. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad. The BBPDC is completely unaccountable to anyone or anything in the community.

    Frankly, I think it’s time somebody is held responsible. I think it’s time Ms. Regina Myer gives us an apology and hands us a resignation to make way for someone reasonably responsive to the community, makes better decisions and shoots straight. I’m tired of all the BS and Spin coming out of the mouths of people like Ms. Myer, the Pierhouse view fiasco being the pinnacle… Enough is enough. Let’s bring KISS back to the park where possible so we can all enjoy what it can should be all the time. If someone starts a petition for her to resign, I’ll gladly sign it.

  • MonroeOrange

    I agree…and have said this many times…its not people from other neighborhoods or the tourists…its quite simply that we in BH got nothing out of this….we got more crowds, less views and more trash left on the street…how is that a quality of life improvement.

  • MonroeOrange

    like i said many times on this blog…biggest waste of money ever…there were multiple alternatives to get to the park…the millions used to build this bridge should have been used for park upkeep or simply donated to charity..that would have been money well spent..not a bridge that cost milllions to build and now needs 700k in repairs…like i said before, who is the contractor…Gambino, Genovese and Fam?

  • HicksOnHicks

    It would be nice if people actually read what I wrote. My point is that if we can sell real estate at its highest price point, we’ll be able to minimize the park real estate devoted to funding the park. This is actually a point that was recently made by the NYT, so no need for the Fox News slur.

    WRT funding the park, the BBPC has been extremely opaque in the park’s finances and no one truly knows what they are until details are publicly released. However the lack of transparency suggests that they may have something to hide.

    Sorry I offended with my “putin bro’s” comment, but I was making a point. I would prefer to have the least amount of space devoted to housing and commercial use. If that means attracting well-heeled foreign investors, like the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, so be it. How would you evaluate whether a wealthy investor’s money is “dirty”? More bureaucrats enforcing mindless rules arbitrarily while adding time and costs to real estate transactions and further worsening the affordability issues? If they broke the law and it was proven in court, they are in prison, everything else is an allegation.

  • HicksOnHicks

    I agree. Our politicians have sold us out and accused us of NIMBYism while we just want to keep a park a park.

  • HicksOnHicks

    Sorry, but as a former member of Local 1199 when I worked at Brookdale Hospital, I know what I speak of. They bully you if you work hard and they take money from your pay check to benefit their cronies. What’s wrong with freedom?

    BTW, sometimes the rat shows up if you hired “the wrong union”.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    HicksOnHicks wrote: “BTW, sometimes the rat shows up if you hired “the wrong union”.

    I had no idea. This is mind-blowing. What a devious tactic! Rat-slander the competition…

  • johnny cakes

    I agree with your opinion, someone(s) are on the take. Their is something rotten in the BBP. and NYC. And unless an honest DA will look into it, nothing will happen. if their is no trial…there is no crime nor sentence. That is how municipal corruption goes unpunished.

    The politicians are part of the problem, not the solution. Was Vito Lopez ever convicted of corruption? No! He was never charged with a crime. If you grease the District Attorney’s Office, you will get a ‘Free-Pass’ from jail. No charges will be made against you.

    Corrupt Judges who get caught taking pay-offs just retire, they never go to jail. And they get a yearly retirement pension of $97,000 for their ‘community service’. Look it up from newspaper articles.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    Now I wonder if the bouncy-bridge problems have anything to do with its having been raised up before the pile-driving had finished on either side of it (for Northern Behemoth & Southern Brother). It always seemed to me that this was done out of order. Engineers?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Talking to yourself again MO?

  • Frenchbull

    somebody’s making out like a bandit on building/repairing tis dumb little bridge