NYC Parks Department eyes new sports facility at Staten Island’s Willowbrook Park


Years after they were closed, the tennis courts at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island are set to be replaced — but with what is yet to be determined.

City officials are scouting ideas for “creative and comprehensive” plans that would expand sports and recreation amenities at the park. The Parks Department released a Request for Proposals on Tuesday for the development, operation and maintenance of a year-round sports and recreation facility at the park.

The new concession would be primarily for sports-related uses like soccer, tennis, pickleball, or other sports and recreational interests, the request said.

The proposing concessionaires would be signing up for a 20-year term to develop, operate and maintain the sports facility at the location of Willowbrook Park’s former tennis courts, which have been closed since 2014 due to deteriorating conditions. In the RFP, the department said the deterioration was due to environmental conditions that now have the potential to be mitigated through sustainable design.

A RFP for the location was first issued in 2018, and awarded in 2019, but it was canceled because the concessionaire did not meet the contractual requirements set by the Parks Department, according to Staten Island Live.

“Willowbrook Park is an integral part of Staten Island’s Greenbelt and an oasis for active and passive recreational pursuits,” city Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said in a statement. “Willowbrook Park’s former tennis courts are an ideal location for a brand-new year-round sports and recreation facility to appeal to all Staten Islanders. We encourage prospective applicants to consider this dynamic opportunity to create a new recreational resource for the community.”

According to the new RFP, proposals require a detailed operational plan, including the intended use of the facility, hours of operation, services to be provided and any plans to install energy efficient appliances. The proposal should also describe staffing plans, a list of proposed pricing, and landscaping maintenance plans. All would be subject to the department’s approval.

Applicants were also encouraged to dream big. Parks said the facility can feature a clubhouse with locker rooms, food service, and even a pro shop that sells merchandise and equipment.

Plans that incorporate programming for the community and environmentally friendly design will be favored. But the concessionaire will foot the bill, as the RFP said they will be responsible for all the costs associated with the new facilities.

The department will be holding a virtual meeting for potential applicants on Jan. 18 at 3 p.m., and the proposals are due Feb. 15 at 3 p.m.


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