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The Daily Plant : Tuesday, November 1, 2005

PARKS UNVEILS TWO PROJECTS ON STATEN ISLAND


Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On Monday, October 24, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe headed to Staten Island to celebrate the completion of two construction projects in the "Borough of Parks."

Commissioner Benepe joined Council Member Andrew Lanza and Assembly Member Vincent Ignizio in the morning to cut the ribbon at Woodhull Senior Park on Staten Island’s South Shore. The park, which includes passive areas for seniors as well as recreation space for young children, is the borough’s second park built with senior citizens in mind.

The $1 million project was funded by the Mayor’s Office and Council Member Lanza. Measuring one acre and set against a natural wooded backdrop, Woodhull Senior Park incorporates a series of meandering pathways that lead to various sections of the park, including the recreation area and shading pavilion. The park also includes a jungle gym, slide, and rainbow spray shower. The site is landscaped with native plants that blend in with the surrounding forestland.

The completion of Woodhull Senior Park is just one of many projects to incorporate the specific needs of a community. In the past few years, Parks has built parks for skaters, greenways for bikers and joggers, and facilities that meet the needs of New Yorkers with physical handicaps.

The day’s second event took place at the historic Snug Harbor Cultural Center, where Parks celebrated the completion of a $1.4 million wetland restoration project. The project to remove invasive plant species and years of siltation breathed new life into the once-threatened ecological habitat. Improvements to the surrounding landscape and pedestrian pathways have made the location an ideal place for visitors to enjoy the scenery. Mayor Bloomberg allocated $323,000 to the project, while Council Member McMahon set aside $780,000; $335,000 in additional funding was provided by a Clean Air/Clean Water Act grant.

The Snug Harbor wetland is adjacent to the Chinese Scholars Garden and includes a pond and stream that flows into the Kill Van Kull. The pond was dammed in the 1970s, disrupting the natural flow of water, and a steady buildup of siltation choked off native plant life. Diverse populations of flora and fauna died off and thick areas of phragmites took over.

To restore the habitat and improve water quality, Parks removed sediment in the pond and reintroduced native emergent and wetland plants, including rare and endangered species. Phragmites were removed and the banks were reinforced to limit erosion. The pond’s upper and lower dams were restored to maintain consistent water levels.

Staten Island, which boasts more than 7,300 acres of parkland, has seen extensive park development in recent years. The completion of Bloomingdale Park in late 2004 added 15 acres of active and passive recreation space, and the Greenbelt Recreation Center will greatly expand opportunities when it opens next spring.

-written by Ashe Reardon

 

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"We are all fallen creatures and all very hard to live with."

C.S. Lewis

(1898-1963)

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