STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — More than eight years after being destroyed during Hurricane Irene, the berm at Wolfe’s Pond has been restored.
The $3.8 million Wolfe’s Pond Park Landscape Reconstruction project was completed in early November, reconstructing the berm that separates Wolfe’s Pond from Raritan Bay, which will allow the pond to return to its pre-Irene conditions.
The city Parks Department is currently working with city’s Department of Environmental Conservation to restock the pond with fish — welcome news for local anglers who fished in the pond for years before it was badly damaged earlier this decade. The fish should be back in the pond by spring.
The berm, a raised bank of soil and plantings, was breached during both Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy the following year, allowing sand from the beach to be deposited into the pond, decreasing the depth. Additionally, salt water mixed with the fresh-water pond, creating brackish water and throwing off the pond’s fragile ecosystem.
In summer 2012, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) urged FEMA to speed up its funding process for the pond’s repairs. With the funding secured, the project to repair the berm’s damage from Irene began. Unfortunately, shortly after, Hurricane Sandy hit, further damaging the berm and the pond itself.
While the project was fully funded for the Irene repairs, damage from Sandy had to be assessed, with a new plan put in place to address the additional damages.
The project’s design phase ran from March 2013 through October 2015, with extensive review and comment required before the city was able to obtain work permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The procurement phase ran from October 2015 to June 2017, nearly a full year longer than its projected end date of July 2016. Construction began in October 2017, taking 25 months to complete, with the project finally wrapping up in early November 2019.
NEW BASKETBALL COURTS ON THE WAY
The berm at Wolfe’s Pond isn’t the only part of the park being restored to its former glory, with the basketball court set to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Wolfe’s Pond Basketball Court will be fully reconstructed as part of the $2.8 million Staten Island Basketball Court Reconstruction project, which also includes two other courts located at Old Town Playground and Midland Field.
The courts will be completely repaved, painted and color sealed, with new benches, fencing and drinking fountains with bottle-fillers also being installed.
The repaving of the court at Wolfe’s Pond Park is long-overdue, with dozens of cracks seen scattered about the pavement.
All three courts are expected to be completed by April 2021.