Average NYC Parks bathroom costs taxpayers roughly $3.6M to complete, report says

April 4, 2019

Comfort station of DeWitt Clinton Park in Hell’s’ Kitchen; via Wikimedia

Bathrooms in the city’s parks are flush with cash. The average comfort station built by the New York City Parks Department costs taxpayers just under $3.6 million, according to a report by Yoav Gonen of THE CITY. The Parks Department spent $1.3 million on average for bathrooms in 2011. Last year, the city finished its most expensive park bathroom to date, a $4.7 million station at the Bronx’s Ferry Point Park West.

And the construction costs don’t appear to be slowing down. The city is planning a nearly $6 million bathroom at the nautical-themed Seaside Wildlife Nature Park on Staten Island. Council Member Joe Borelli, who represents the borough, told THE CITY the huge costs for the nature park stem from new flood zone requirements put in place following Hurricane Sandy.

“Where they probably could have gotten away with a $3 million project–the normal, overpriced bathroom–this has to be [physially] elevated,” Borelli said. “So it kind of stinks.”

A report from think tank Center for an Urban Future released last summer found the city has actually underinvested in the maintenance and infrastructure needs of the parks for decades. The average city park last underwent a major renovation in 1997, despite being on average more than 70 years old.

CUF estimated that an investment of $5.8 billion over the next decade is needed to address the repair and replacement of existing infrastructure, which does not include the cost of constructing new structures.

So why do park bathrooms cost taxpayers so much? Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver has said the increased costs are out of his control. “The costs are something we grapple with as well. We do not tell contractors what number to give us–they determine what the market bears,” Silver said during a City Council budget hearing last month. “We put the project out to bid — these are the numbers that we’re getting.”



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More: Policy
Tags: Nyc Parks

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