FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 30, 2009
Concrete Plant Park Opening Signals A New Vision For Public Space
New Waterfront Park is Latest Developed Link of Bronx River Greenway
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Community Board 2 District Manager John Robert, Alexie Torres-Fleming, Executive Director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, and Bronx River Alliance chairperson Joan Byron to cut the ribbon on Concrete Plant Park, situated along the western shore of the Bronx River between Westchester Avenue & Bruckner Boulevard. Community members from Hunts Point and Longwood and students from C.S. 211 and Fanny Lou Hamer Freedom High School attended the event.
The seven-acre park, New York City’s newest waterfront public space, is the latest link to be developed as part of the Bronx River Greenway. A reclamation of a former industrial wasteland, it now includes a multi-use recreational path for running, cycling, and rollerblading, and is a model for 21st century vision in parks across the country.
“From its bold architecture to its waterfront recreational amenities, Concrete Plant Park is a prime example of urban planning and adaptive re-use at its most innovative,” said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “The transformation of this former working concrete plant into a striking new park is a testament to the hard work and dedication of community activists working in partnership with government to reclaim the Bronx River and its waterfront.”The new park features a waterfront promenade, kayak/canoe launch, green lawns, a reading circle, native tidal wetland plantings, landscaping, and established park entrances at Westchester Avenue and the Bruckner Boulevard. Silos from the old concrete plant remain as sculptural elements and reminders of the site’s past. Funding for the $11.4 million project was provided by Mayor Bloomberg ($6.3 million), a federal grant secured by Congressman José E. Serrano ($3.9 million), mitigation funds from the construction of the Croton Water Filtration Plant through the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Municipal Water Finance Authority ($592,000), Bronx Borough President ($540,000), and a grant from the Recreational Trails Program of the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation ($100,000).
Concrete Plant Park is the latest link to be developed along the Bronx River Greenway, A ribbon of multi-use pathway linked by waterfront parks. When complete, the Bronx River Greenway will span 23 miles and extend the full length of the Bronx River, from Westchester County through the Bronx to the East River. Parks and its non-profit partner the Bronx River Alliance are working to complete the New York City portion of the greenway. Approximately 6.5 miles of New York City’s portion of the greenway are currently in place with the full portion anticipated to be completed within the next five years.
To date, over $150 million allocated by local, state, and federal sources has been dedicated to the creation of the Bronx River Greenway, including over $40 million which has already been invested to build new parks along the Bronx River, such as Concrete Plant Park and Hunts Point Riverside Park (the recipient of a Rudy Bruner award), and renovate existing parks along the river such as the Bronx River Forest and Bronx Park East. Parks is in the midst of developing the next link of the Bronx River Greenway at Starlight Park, which is located just north of Concrete Plant Park.
The site of Concrete Plant Park served as a concrete mixing plant which operated from the late 1940s through 1987. After the community, led by Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, advocated in 1999 to secure the site as parkland and develop it as part of the Bronx River Greenway, the City acquired the site in 2000. Parks then collaborated with community groups to design the park. The developed park now offers enhanced amenities to support the on-going environmental education programs offered to the community by the Bronx River Alliance and several of its partner groups.
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CONTACT: Vickie Karp/Jesslyn Moser (212) 360-1311