Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Sheer Luck" Cromwell Center Didn't Collapse When It Was Open

The sub-structure that supported the Cromwell Center, the borough's largest and most widely used recreation facility, was in "seriously deteriorated condition" before it finally gave way and crumbled into Upper New York Bay last May. (Photo: Jan Somma-Hammel/Staten Island Advance)

Staten Island

It was sheer luck the Cromwell Center did not collapse when it was still open to the public, according to the Staten Island Advance.

The sub-structure that held the borough’s largest and most widely used recreation facility was in “seriously deteriorated condition” before it finally gave way and crumbled into Upper New York Bay on May 26, according to an internal Parks Department report obtained by the Advance through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The report also reveals the Tompkinsville building would likely require a costly and time-consuming rebuild, placing its future in serious doubt.

McLaren Engineering - a firm that specializes in marine structures and forensic examinations of building collapses – conducted the investigation for Parks on June 4, about a week after the Cromwell partially fell into the harbor.

Parks had closed the building about a month earlier to begin $4.4 million in repairs, including replacing the roof and three support piles and reinforcing the bulkhead. They had hoped the repairs would take a year.

However, the building may have been in worse shape than the city had suspected.

According to McLaren’s report, the timber piles that held the deck up were in “seriously deteriorated condition.” Many of them were incapable of bearing weight and others were missing altogether, the engineers found. Though numerous repairs were made to the piling over past three decades, “most have failed and are no longer functional.”

Read More:

Staten Island's Cromwell Center was a ticking time bomb
Staten Island Advance - October 25, 2010 - By Peter N. Spencer

Cromwell Recreation Center Collapses; No one hurt
A Walk In The Park - May 27, 2010

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