January 2005 - Capital Project of the Month
CONCRETE PLANT PARK
Project Team: James Mituzas, Frank Strauch, George Bloomer, David McConnell, Randee Stewart, Rita Coelho, Ruby Wei, Peter Williams, Vasant Gholkar, Jumaane Stewart, John Deitz
This section of the Bronx River Greenway, also known as Concrete Plant Park, is 2.7 acres in size. The park is situated along the western shore of the Bronx River in the Crotona Park East neighborhood, within Community Board 2 and Council District 17. The street map location of Concrete Plant Park is between Westchester Avenue (to the north) and Bruckner Boulevard (to the south). To the west lies the Amtrak Railroad and the Sheridan Expressway (I-895).
The surrounding land use is primarily medium-density residential. To the south is the northern section of Hunts Point Produce Market, a produce hub for over 30 years that transports food throughout New York City and the Greater New York Area.
This project will develop a portion of the Bronx River Greenway within the park and provide access to the Bronx River. Facilities will be constructed to support and link existing and planned multi-use pedestrian greenways with other off-road, on-road bicycle/pedestrian routes. Entrances will be established at both the Westchester Avenue and the Bruckner Boulevard ends of the park and non-motorized access will also be provided to the river for kayaking and canoeing.
A kayak/canoe launch will be incorporated into the restored waterfront as well as a promenade. The existing beach area will be cleaned and re-nourished while waterfront on either edge of the park will have the steep slopes stabilized and the native tidal wetland plantings greatly enhanced.
The design details of the park take its cue from the industrial background of the site and the adjacent Amtrak railway. Angular forms and exposed metal are used in the new amphitheater, shade structure, fencing, and benches. While several of the hoppers used in the concrete production will be retained and restored to give a visual presence to the park from the Sheridan Expressway and reference its former use.
Concrete Plant Park was a working concrete batch mix plant sitting on the western bank of the Bronx River. A cultural resources survey report that was prepared in 1987 by the Public Archaeology Facility at SUNY Binghamton for the New York State Department of Education reported that concrete manufacturing began after 1945. The Transit Mix Concrete Corporation built the silos hoppers, and conveyors that still stand today.
In 1987, the concrete manufacturing came to a quick halt with many of the hoppers still half full with concrete. The site sat fallow for several years before having the ownership transferred over to the City in August of 2000.
Today it stands as an underdeveloped park. User groups from the Department of Parks and others represented by the Bronx River Alliance and Rock the Boat now utilize the park despite its undeveloped state. The people from Rock The Boat utilize Concrete Plant Park as a kayak / canoe launch to support their on-going environmental programs with children from the surrounding neighborhood. Large improvements to the site have been made by the Parks Department's Natural Resources Group, who have cleaned up much of the Park and installed native wetland plants along sections of the Bronx River shoreline in an effort to re-establish the native habitat.