Hudson River Park critically short on cash, Benepe says

December 14, 2009 05:59PM

Hudson River Park, the five-mile waterfront band stretching from Battery Park to 59th Street, is so short on cash that City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe is warning that it may soon reach “crisis” levels, unable to generate enough cash for necessary maintenance. The park is supposed to generate its $15 million annual operating budget on its own. Nearly half of that comes from parking fees at Pier 40 at Houston Street — for which the state sought a major developer but never found one — according to Connie Fishman, president of the Hudson River Park Trust. The pier’s crumbling roof has resulted in the closure of 160 parking spaces this year, worth an estimated $600,000 in funds, and more closings could be imminent, Fishman said. Some advocates say the government is at fault for pitting the park’s success on deals with developers that might never pan out, while refusing to pay for services with state funds. A development at Pier 40 would have paid for the pier’s renovation and generated additional revenue for the park. Hudson River Park is expected to increase in size by 25 percent next year with new sections opening. “We will have more park to operate and less money available,” Fishman said. [Post]