City issues fourth RFP to run Forest Park Carousel
by Lisa A. Fraser
Dec 21, 2011 | 533 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Parks Department issues fourth RFP for Forest It's round four for the Forest Park Carousel as the Department of Parks and Recreation announced last Tuesday that they have issued another Request for Proposals for the renovation, operation and maintenance of the carousel.

The department, as well as residents, are hoping that the fourth time is a charm.

The RFP is tied to the carousel at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in hopes that companies with “strong backgrounds” in developing, operating and maintaining carousels and amusement venues will submit proposals.

The carousel was operated by New York One until 2008, when the company let its contract expire while refusing to maintain it.

While recent RFPs were recently issued, Parks Department officials say that although the city did get a few responses, “no viable proposals were received.”

The department would not give an explanation as to why a developer could not be chosen.

The department is seeking a concessionaire for one fifteen-year term. According to the RFP, the operation of the Forest Park location will begin as soon as Parks enters into a concession agreement and issues a Notice to Proceed to the chosen concessionaire.

Parks officials hope that the newly installed fence at Forest Park will attract bidders as well as the ability to add other amusement rides at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

According to the RFP, the concessionaire will be required to renovate, operate and maintain the food service facility at the Forest Park location at a high standard of quality. And the food service facility should make a significant improvement to the ambience of the park.

The Woodhaven-based nonprofit, Independence Residences Inc., which trains adults with mental disabilities to hold jobs, had recently expressed interest in running the carousel.

The company is the owner of Independence Cafe on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.

Assemblyman Mike Miller said that the Parks Department didn't reject the idea to having IRI run the carousel, but the department said that they too, would have to submit a proposal.

Residents in the area are determined to get the carousel up and running again somehow. A landmarking committee is set to be formed, which will include members from civic associations and community boards around Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Glendale and Richmond Hill.

Landmark status would also ensure that parts of the carousel are never separated and sold.

“We want to landmark the carousel because it's the only way that we could preserve it in its present state,” said community activist Maria Thomson, who is also an executive member of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association.

The Parks Department is urging potential concessionaires to attend two meetings at the beginning of 2012. On Thursday, January 12, a meeting will be held at the Woodhaven Boulevard entrance to Forest Park at 11:30 a.m. Another will be held on the same day at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park entrance at 111th Street and 55th Avenue at 1 p.m.

The department wants all proposals for the RFP to be submitted no later than Friday, January 27, 2012 at 3 p.m.

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