Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cromwell Recreation Center Collapses; No one hurt

The Parks Department's Cromwell Recreation Center in Tompkinsville is partially collapsed. The facility had been closed to begin a renovation and no one was inside. (Photos: Staten Island Advance)


Cromwell Center, the aging Tompkinsville recreation facility about to undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation, partially collapsed into the harbor yesterday when the right side of the pier it sits atop crumbled, according to a report by The Staten Island Advance.

The recreation center has been closed to the public awaiting the start of construction, and no one was in the building at the time. No one was hurt. 

Michael Bonanno was working out in the weight room at Lyons Pool across the street when he heard a low rumble, "like a truck going over a speed bump," he said. Then Cromwell’s alarm bell went off, and fire trucks arrived.

A second collapse occurred while firefighters were about to inspect the damage. "I heard them banging, and all of a sudden, ‘Get out!’ and that’s when they ran like hell," said John Mullarkey who lives in Bay Street Landing across the street.

The early consensus was that the structure could not be saved, and some bystanders thought they could see the building listing further as they stood watching.

"They want a Cromwell Center, but they’re going to have to build it on land somewhere," said Borough President James Molinaro.


But Parks Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe said engineers believe the rear of the 1938 structure is still solid and might be salvageable.

The front-right corner of the building, though, "is in imminent state of collapse," FDNY Incident Commander Chief James Leonard said, and it already had shifted five and a half inches in the first two hours following the arrival of emergency responders.

Firefighters perched in a bucket atop a ladder truck kept an eye on the structure to detect any signs of movement.

Closed to the public in April, the center was days away from undergoing the beginning of a $4.4 million construction project which would have included a roof replacement, bulkhead stabilization, installation of three support piles and corrosion prevention, Benepe said. The contractor, RB Conway and Sons, had not yet started work.

Cromwell Center Collapse

Read More including Video:

Sea claims part of Staten Island recreation center as Cromwell collapses; no one hurt

Staten Island Advance - May 27, 2010 By -  Maura Yates

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