BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER
The long-awaited Asphalt Green community center in Battery Park City inched closer to opening on March 26 when the Battery Park City Authority board of directors agreed to an amended contract with Asphalt Green.
The contract specifies that Asphalt Green will have “substantial access” to the community center premises at 212 North End Ave. as of May 1 while the B.P.C.A. puts the final touches on construction. This work must be finished by mid-June so that Asphalt Green Battery Park City can open its summer day camp on June 27.
If the B.P.C.A. fails to meet these dates, there will be financial penalties. Should the authority not be able to grant access by May 1, it will pay Asphalt Green $25,000 a week. That number would go to $50,000 a week if “substantial access” can’t be granted by May 31. If Asphalt Green is unable to open its summer program at all, as occurred last year, it will cost the B.P.C.A. $200,000.
Gwen Dawson, senior vice president of asset management for the authority, is in charge of the construction work. She said that it is moving forward on an expedited schedule and that the contractors are being paid accordingly.
The amended contract stipulates that the B.P.C.A. will pay Asphalt Green $392,000 to compensate it for lost revenue and staffing costs incurred because it had been ready to open on Dec. 1, 2012 — a plan thwarted by Superstorm Sandy.
B.P.C.A. board member Fernando Mateo wanted to know why the B.P.C.A. should be responsible for what was clearly out of its control. The board’s chairperson, Dennis Mehiel, said this was a way of mitigating the many months of lost revenue prior to that time, when the community center failed to open. “Asphalt Green was running a deficit of $35,000 to $50,000 a month,” he said.
Board member Martha Gallo asked Carol Tweedy, Asphalt Green’s executive director, if there were credibility issues in the community because there had been so many delays in opening.
Tweedy replied that when a December 1 opening was announced, there were approximately 1,700 memberships representing around 3,000 people (many of the memberships were for families.)
When the opening was again delayed, there were “very disgruntled people,” she said. In the last month, there had been around 10 cancellations a week. However, she added, “I am optimistic that once we can make an announcement of a signed contract and we can begin to engage people, we will be able to recover those who went away.”
Asphalt Green’s program director, Paul Weiss, said that staffing for the new community center will begin immediately and that a brochure announcing the summer programming will be issued shortly.
Battery Park City residents will receive preferred pricing for memberships, with details to be released in the next few days.
“The Battery Park City Authority insisted on that,” Weiss said.
The summer camp for children aged 4 to 13 will be the keystone of the summer programming. Open houses so that families can learn more about the camp will be held at Asphalt Green’s membership office at 211 North End Ave. They are scheduled for Wednesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., Saturday, April 13 at 11 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. and Tuesday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Advance reservations are appreciated but not necessary. Call (212)369.8890 ext. 2084 for more information or to RSVP.
It is not necessary to be a member of Asphalt Green to send a child to the summer camp program.