Saturday, December 24, 2011

Trump Picked To Run Ferry Point Park Golf Money Pit Boondoggle

















Scheduled Completion: Fall 2011. Sign of The Times. The original project was supposed to open in 2001 and cost the tax payers only a few million dollars. That was then. It is now slated to open in spring 2014 and cost the tax payers many times what was orginally promised. (Photos: Geofrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.

"This is going to be a golf course for the rich," said Wanda Rosario. "They have enough, so give us something. We're poor people, so how can we afford playing golf?"

Bronx

By Geoffrey Croft

The former Ferry Point Land fill surrounded by housing projects near the Whitestone Bridge in the Bronx is now being converted into a golf course paid for by the city's tax payers. The Parks Department dumped a press release touting Trump's involvement in running the facility not only on a Friday- but the day before Christmas eve. One of the Parks Department's most scandal plagued projects was originally supposed to open in 2001 is now slated for 2014 according to the release.

The public was originally on the hook for only a few million dollars of the original $22 million dollar project. In 2007 however Mayor Bloomberg decided the city's tax-payers should pay for the project after the Giuliani-selected original developer Pierre Gagne's Ferry Point Partners walked away in 2006 because of rising costs. (but not before the city paid them nearly $15 million of the $43 million already spent by 2009)

"It's a mess ... There was a contract entered into long before our administration ... It turns out it was a terrible contract. But that doesn't mean you go criticize the guys that did it because, for all I know, I would have done the same thing. Maybe at that time it appeared to be a great contract," the Mayor said on November 23, 2007 in a now famous quote.

The original developer picked by Giuliani, Henry Stern and co., Pierre Gagne only previous experience in running a company that served the public was seemingly a car dealership. They were supposed to build a 222-acre, 18-hole, 72-par golf course - designed by Jack Nicklaus, as well as a clubhouse and a driving range, and public improvements elsewhere in the 414-acre city park. The improvements included a seven-acre community park in the northern corner which they partially seized to build the golf course, and a 19.5-acre waterfront park and esplanade along the East River at the southeastern end.

The public is now paying for these projects as well.

According to the original contract Ferry Point Partners was required to give the city at least $63 million in concession fees during the 35 year contract. The financial arrangements of the 20 year Trump deal were conspicuosly absent in the announcement.

In May 2004, New York Dirt, said by the FBI to be controlled by Gambino capo Gregory DePalma and his soldier Robert Vaccaro, were caught dumping 8,400 cubic yards of fill at Ferry Point. By DePalma's own crooked calculations, caught on a FBI wire tap according to the Daily News, this added up to as much as $42,000 per month. New York Dirt had been getting money at Ferry Point every month since 2001.

Since then the project only further spiraled out of control. By 2009 the project's costs had ballooned to $100 million dollars.

Many low-income residents living in housing projects northeast of the site say they'd prefer a larger community park with a public pool.

"This is going to be a golf course for the rich," said Wanda Rosario in 2009. "They have enough, so give us something. We're poor people, so how can we afford playing golf?"


















Ferry Point Park - November 2011. Park Bench Bronx Style. While the City is paying well above a hundred million dollars so Donald Trump can run a golf course, the rest of Ferry Point park is disaster.


The plan to breathe life into the landfill site with a golf course dates back to 1949. But the original plan by master builder Robert Moses only called for about one-quarter of the site devoted to golf with much of the rest designated as ball fields and picnic areas.

The project was painstakingly covered in a series of investigative articles by Alex Ulam
published in City Limits (see below)


Press Release below


A Walk In The Park - August 17, 2009

New York Post - August 18, 2009 - By Rich Calder

Bronx Golf Course Idea Now A Nightmare For NYC
CBS - August 17, 2009 - By Marcia Kramer (below)

Bronx Golf Course Idea Now A Nightmare For NYC

Giuliani's Dream Is $100 Million Over Budget And Expected To Be 12 Years Late, But Bloomberg Says It Will Be Built


Aug 17, 2009 7:02 pm US/Eastern

Reporting
NEW YORK (CBS) ―

A dream park has become a money pit.

The plan to transform a former Bronx landfill into a spectacular golf course has some residents crying foul.

The project is overdue, over budget and could soon be putting a strain on taxpayers.

Rudy Giuliani's dream of building a highfalutin Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course on the site of a toxic waste dump in the Bronx has become Michael Bloomberg's nightmare, but the city is still going through with it even though it's $100 million over budget and is expected to be at least 12 years late.

"It is a complete waste of money. It's a boondoggle and it's something that never should have gone forward," said Geoffrey Croft of the NYC Park Advocates.

There are a lot of questions. Like what happens if the golfers hit their balls into the cemetery next door? Who wants to play on a toxic waste dump? And how much will it cost? The original plans called for charging $120 for a single round of golf. The Black Course at Bethpage, where the U.S. Open was held this summer, charges $60 on weekends. Weekdays are cheaper.

So who can afford to pay $120 for a round of golf?

"The mayor and the real estate developers -- certainly not the people who live around here," Croft said.

"It's ridiculous. People in this neighborhood don't have that kind of money," said Jacqueline Young of Throggs Neck.

The neighborhood people also don't like the idea that 85 percent of the 220 acres are earmarked for the golf course.

"It's ridiculous. People in this neighborhood don't have that kind of money," said Jacqueline Young of Throggs Neck.

"We don't play golf. We'll be lucky if we get the caddy jobs. We're not going to go out and play," said Phil Hazel of Throggs Neck.

An avid golfer, the mayor said the city still plans to build the course, though it is, as he said, "embarrassingly" delayed and has a new problem.

"What we don't have is a developer who's willing to build the clubhouse and that's the problem at the moment," Bloomberg said.

And here's the rub: if contractors don't meet their targeted completion date, which is four years from now, it will be another mayor's problem.

The original development plans were drawn up by Robert Moses in 1949. He promised a sandy beach, lots and lots of public parkland and a tiny golf course.

Oh, how things have changed.



City Selects Concessionaire For Bronx's Ferry Point Public Golf Course - Tournament-quality Public Course Will Generate Economic Activity In The Bronx

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today announced that the City has negotiated a 20-year license agreement for the operation of the Ferry Point Golf Course to the Trump Organization. The course is a Jack Nicklaus Signature, tournament-quality golf course that will be open to the public and will generate economic activity in the Bronx. The Trump Organization was selected through a public Request for Offers issued by the Parks Department. In addition to the primary responsibilities of maintaining and operating a tournament-quality golf course, the Trump Organization has committed to a minimum $10 million capital investment to design and construct a new, state-of-the-art golf clubhouse – expected to create 100 new construction jobs. The clubhouse will include a cart storage facility, locker rooms and a grill room.

“This new public golf course will be a great amenity for the Bronx, for the City, and for visitors,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “More than $600 million has been invested in parks around the Bronx during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, and now this long-awaited golf course will soon be among them – bringing more people from across the country and around the world to the Bronx. The Trump Organization is known for operating world-class golf courses, and I’m excited to be able to partner with them to build and run the first tournament-quality golf course in New York City.”

“This is an opportunity to have one of our country’s greatest golf courses right smack in the middle of New York City – an unheard of opportunity,” said Trump Organization CEO and Chairman Donald J. Trump. “The residents of NYC will be very proud of the end result which will include championship tour play, with all of its benefits, right down the road.”
At 222 acres, Ferry Point Park East represents one of the largest pieces of previously undeveloped parkland in New York City, and one of the greatest opportunities for augmenting the City’s recreational resources. When complete, the new park will contain the golf course, a community park with playgrounds and ballfields, and a waterfront park with rambling trails and scenic overlooks.

Ferry Point Golf Course is an 18-hole, links-style, Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course that will be open to the public. Sitting at the foot of the Whitestone Bridge in the Bronx, it is designed specifically to take advantage of spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, East River, and Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges. In addition to the 18-hole course, the facility also will include a clubhouse, snack bar, comfort station, and driving range. It will be the only tournament-quality course in New York City, giving avid golfers a unique and more challenging alternative to the City’s other well-maintained public courses. The golf course is expected to open to the public for play in the spring of 2014.

The Trump Organization has vast experience developing, maintaining and operating first-class golf venues around the world including a recently completed links-style course in Aberdeen, Scotland. Trump courses have played host to major professional golf tournaments, including the LPGA playoffs in West Palm Beach and the PGA Puerto Rican Open. The Trump Organization is also an experienced Parks concessionaire with background operating the Wollman and Lasker ice skating rinks, and the Central Park carousel.




1 comment:

  1. where is scott stringer or sen diaz telling his son the boro prez to help? THEY could stop it asap. Liu?

    ReplyDelete