Sandy Hook Unit superintendent retires

Richard Wells, superintendent at the Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, has retired after a 32-year career with the National Park Service (NPS).

He began his career at the Denver Service Center, working on projects such as local projects at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. During the 1980s, Wells was project director of the restoration of the main building at Ellis Island, and oversaw its transformation into the largest museum in the NPS and largest museum in the U.S. devoted to immigration history.

While at Sandy Hook, he served as assistant superintendent prior to his promotion to superintendent. During his tenure, he saw completion of the multiuse pathway, expanded summer ferry service, and restoration of the lighthouse keeper’s quarters. His most lasting contribution was his efforts to promote the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of 36 buildings in the Fort Hancock Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

While the search for a new superintendent continues, Dave Avrin, Gateway’s Staten Island unit superintendent, will serve as acting superintendent.