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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXIII, Number 4782
Thursday, Sep 04, 2008

Restored Access Path Opens At Highbridge Park

Photo by Daniel Avila

The High Bridge is one step closer to reopening! On August 26, Mayor Bloomberg opened the Access Path in Highbridge Park in Manhattan that leads to the bridge. The $4.2 million Access Path project is part of the PlaNYC initiative to reopen the High Bridge and is also one of eight regional parks throughout the five boroughs that will be redeveloped as part of PlaNYC. After cutting the ribbon, and walking up the path, the group then walked across the High Bridge – to the Bronx and back!

The path creates access for pedestrians, bicyclists and service vehicles through Highbridge Park to the High Bridge, and establishes a safe and inviting connection between Highbridge Park and the surrounding neighborhood. In addition to the new pathway, the iron stairway that connects the High Bridge to the park’s historic water tower has been restored for public use.

The Mayor and Commissioner Benepe were joined at the opening by Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat, Council Member Miguel Martinez, Department of Environmental Protection First Deputy Commissioner Steven Lawitts, Community Board 12 Chair Manny Velasquez, and Phillip Eng, deputy regional director of the State Transportation Department.

The project was funded with a $2.2 million allocation by the City and $2 million in federal grants. When the redevelopment of the High Bridge is completed as a PlaNYC regional park, the structure’s stone masonry and steel arches, brick walkways, handrails, and safety fencing will be restored and repainted. Also included in the plan are handicap access, stabilization of the aqueduct pipe inside the bridge, and the addition of signs to explain the bridge’s history in New York City.

The High Bridge was the first aqueduct of its kind in the United States. It brought potable water from the Croton River in Westchester to Manhattan. Upon its opening in 1848, the High Bridge, with its beautiful arches spanning the river between steep, wooded banks, quickly became an attraction for New Yorkers and tourists as well as a favorite subject for artists and photographers.

PlaNYC encompasses the redevelopment of eight regional parks throughout the City, including $60 million to reopen and restore the High Bridge. Other sites funded through the plan are Fort Washington Park in Manhattan; Soundview Park in the Bronx; Calvert Vaux Park and the McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn; Highland Park and Rockaway Parks in Queens; and Ocean Breeze Park on Staten Island.


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