But the new administration has pushed those plans aside, and a new planning process has begun.
Earlier this summer, the city finished demolition of the pier. According to City Administrator Robert Drasheff, the city has received interest from 10 different planning, design and construction companies to build a park on the reconstructed pier.
Earlier this week was the deadline for the firms to submit their qualifications to the city. The demolition and reconstruction expenses for the new pier will be paid for by the Port Authority, said Drasheff. The Port Authority has already handed $80 million to the city to help redevelop the southern waterfront in an effort to fulfill a congressional mandate instructing them to work with the city to try and breathe new life into the area.
According to Fred Bado, the city's director of community development, the Port Authority has allotted $23 million for the Pier C project. After demolition, the city still has approximately $19 million to reconstruct and create a park on the new Pier C.
Drasheff promised that the process will involve a great deal of public input. Officials will narrow to candidates down to three or four out of the 10. Then, as early as February or March, the city will host a series of public hearings, where the finalists will make presentations to members of the City Council, administration and public. At these hearings, Drasheff said, the public will have an opportunity to make suggestions and comment on which firm should be chosen.
Then, he added, that after the firm is selected, there will be another series of public meetings where the public will be involved in commenting how the space will be programmed. "Together, the city and the public will decide what will go on Pier C," said Drasheff. "We really want to get the community involved with the design of the new park."
According to Drasheff, construction on the project could begin as early as the fall of next year. He said that it will take at least 10 months to rebuild the pier, then several more months to build the different aspects of the park. He said that it will be at least late 2004 before the park might open.
Mayor David Roberts said Wednesday that creating new open space is one of his biggest priorities. "We are concentrating on our goal of creating as much open space as possible," said Roberts.