At First You Don't Succeed. Developers of the Randall's Island Water Park are once again suing the City over the failed project, this time in federal court. Artist's rendering (above) of the controversial project shows the proposed 26-acre water park in the island's northwest corner. (image: Aquatic Development Group)
In February 2012, a New York State Appellate Court judge threw out the Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure's latest breach of contract claim against the City for terminating its agreement to build a controversial $ 168 million dollar 26 acre water park and private beach club on the island, A Walk In The Park learned.
On July 22, 2010 New York Supreme Court dismissed the case which Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure appealed.
Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure was hoping to build the largest indoor waterpark in the country, with seven-acre indoor space open year-round and an 18-acre outdoor facility.
The Randall's Island Sports Foundation would have received a sizable fee from its operation estimated to be $1 million dollars annually.
Opponents of the sole-source water park and private beach club deal had argued the massive complex - which had grown to 26 acres - would have privatized public parkland during its 35 year proposed license and charged a prohibitive $ 37 per ticket for a facility located between Harlem and the South Bronx.
The project finally began to collapse in 2007 when Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg stating the developer had failed to meet the city’s deadline to arrange financing.
The project was cancelled before opponents had an opportunity to file a lawsuit.
In an embarrassing statement at the time, Warner Johnston, a spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation said, “In the event that the concessionaire is unable to fulfill its financial commitments under the agreement, the city will take appropriate steps to ensure that development of this major community improvement continues.”
- Geoffrey Croft
Developers who had hoped to put a suburban style water park on Randalls Island went to federal court Tuesday seeking more than $20 million in damages from the city for pulling the plug on the plan, according to the New York Daily News.
The sponsors said that with the encouragement of city officials, they spent millions of dollars over eight years in anticipation of creating the facility on 26 acres of park land.
The project attracted controversy after it was disclosed that a day of water slides and rafting was expected to cost $37 a person -- a steep price for a park located adjacent to two of the poorest areas of the city, East Harlem and the South Bronx.
The theme park also would have intruded into heavily used ball fields and picnic areas popular with nearby residents.
The developers in Aquatic Development Group said city officials fraudulently “lulled” them into thinking they had more time to get financing by allowing multiple funding deadlines to pass without penalty.
The said that changed in 2007 when, without warning, the Parks Department flushed the theme park into the East River after then City Comptroller William Thompson questioned the contract.
New York Daily News - August 8, 2012 - By Barbara Ross
A Walk In The Park - February 18, 2012 - By Geoffrey Croft