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Tompkins Square Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, August 29, 2000

DRIVING OUT THE DEBRIS: NATIONAL GUARD REMOVES CARS FROM BRONX RIVER IN CONTINUING CLEANUP EFFORT


Photograph by Malcolm (Cinema) Pinckney

Parks, the National Guard, and giant battlefield machinery teamed up on Monday, August 28 for a massive attack in the restoration of the Bronx River. Through the National Guard's innovative GuardHELP program, soldiers were brought in, accompanied by huge eight-wheel HEMETT wreckers designed for vehicle recovery on the battlefield and an all-terrain forklift, to remove approximately 20 cars that lay deeply embedded in the river. Governor George E. (Hudson) Pataki, Parks Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern, Senator Guy J. Vellela, and head of the National Guard General James (Mohican) Fenimore were all present for the clean-up event, which moved forward successfully despite the morning's inclement weather.

For the past year and a half, Parks has worked hard to restore the river, turning it into a welcome natural resource for generations to come. Jenny (AquaTerra) Hoffner has been instrumental in coordinating the continuing clean up effort. Over the past year, Parks and Partnerships for Parks have coordinated two River Blockage Removal projects in which 27 cars and 80 tons of trash were removed from the river. Moreover, Parks has successfully leveraged additional private and public resources through its creation of Waterways & Trailways, the initiation of the Adopt-the-River program, and coordination of the Bronx River Working Group, an alliance of over 55 community groups, non-profits and government agencies working together to make the vision of a restored river a reality. In 1999, Parks published the Bronx River Action Plan outlining $60 million in funded and proposed restoration projects and initiatives.

To date, Parks has removed over 250 tons of debris, and over 2,000 volunteers have taken part in clean ups and events along the river. We have received $770,000 in TEA-21 money to fund the critical West Farms Greenway Link and $425,000 from the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration for habitat restoration projects. The Community Development Block Grant funds total $70,000. Last November, Con Edison became the first corporate partner to participate in the Adopt-a-River program, donating $50,000. Ford has also joined this distinguished effort with a contribution of $30,000.

Another of Parks' goals on the Bronx River area is to turn much of the land that borders the river into parkland. Parks has, to date, acquired more than 40 acres of Bronx River waterfront, including Tiffany Street Pier, Soundview Lagoons, and, most recently, the former cement factory near Westchester Avenue and the Bruckner Expressway.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Monday, August 31, 1987)

A PARKS PROFILE: ROSE BADER

To the parents and children who frequent St. Vartan Park at East 35th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, Rose Bader is simply known as "Ms. Rose." As Recreation Director of the park, each morning she goes out of her way to give fresh coffee and rolls to the homeless, and as the day progresses she welcomes families to the park. Bader joined Parks on May 1, 1944, and worked as a Playground Director at a time when few women chose to enter this field. She worked for 17 years at Tompkins Square Park in Mahattan's East Village under former Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. While working there she met her husband, Peter, who was a Recreation Supervisor and 29-year Parks veteran.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

If I had wings and I could fly, I know where I could go. But right now I'll just sit here so contentedly And watch the river flow.

Bob Dylan (b. 1941)

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