Gateway National Recreation Area

Sandy Hook, New Jersey

In 2012 Hurricane Sandy devastated outer New York Harbor and caused severe flooding throughout Gateway National Recreation Area including sites at Staten Island, New York, and Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The BRS team studied different sites and established resilient maintenance facilities at both locations.

LocationSandy Hook, New Jersey

ClientNational Park Service

TypeRecreation, Park

CategoryRenovation, Other

Square Footage22,000 Total



Hurricane Sandy & Sandy Hook

Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest, most destructive, and strongest hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. The Gateway which is made up of Jamaica Bay Unit, Staten Island Unit and Sandy Hook Unit were flooded in the hurricane forcing the maintenance team to abandon workshops and buildings. Created in 1972, the natural area provides recreational opportunities that are not commonly found in a dense urban environment, including ocean swimming, bird watching, boating, hiking and camping. Ten million people visit Gateway annually.

Scope of Work

During Hurricane Sandy, wave action overtopped most of the park and flooded the maintenance facilities. BRS was tasked with renovating two existing buildings into maintenance and office facilities, and designing a new auto repair shop with covered parking. BRS studied multiple sites and helped the park decide on a best value location. This decision involved stakeholders from cultural resources, natural resources, and park maintenance. The new maintenance location consists of two repurposed structures, a new Auto Shop, and covered parking. Careful attention was paid to FEMA regulations, flood levels, vehicle weights and heights, vehicle wash off regulations, and sustainability.

Historical Preservation

The historic buildings at Fort Hancock were built between 1898 and 1910 when it was a military fortification. As much of the buildings were preserved as possible including the yellow brick. The original 1908 floorplan was found for reference. The windows were reused. The wood floor was reused and refinished. An old OTIS hand-pulled elevator and frame was kept as a centerpiece of the building and the floors were filled in on the first and second floor.  

“This was a very meaningful project. I felt like I was doing good work. It was emotional to see the workers come back to tour their buildings. We are helping the park get back on its feet.” – Caitlin Milligan

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