Hunts Point Riverside Park Wins Rudy Bruner National Award For Urban Excellence
$10,000 Silver Medal Award Will Help Fund Creation of Bronx River Greenway
On June 7, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence representatives announced that Hunts Point Riverside Park has been selected to receive the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence. As a Silver Medal Winner, Hunts Point Riverside Park will receive a $10,000 prize which the City’s partner, the Bronx River Alliance, will invest in the continued development of the Bronx River Greenway, a pedestrian and bike path linked by a set of linear parks along the Bronx River. Opened in Spring 2007, the 1.4 acre Hunts Point Riverside Park sits on the site of a former vacant lot and illegal dumping ground which was revitalized by the community. Bronx River Administrator and Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance Linda Cox, Majora Carter, as well as representatives from the Bronx River Alliance, The Point, Rocking the Boat, and Sustainable South Bronx also attended the award ceremony.
“Hunts Point Riverside Park is a shining example of how community activism combined with a willing partner in government and thoughtful landscape design and planning can positively transform a neighborhood,” said Commissioner Benepe. “By connecting New Yorkers to their natural environment, including the city’s only freshwater river, this innovative waterfront park fosters community development, outdoor fitness and recreation, and a deep appreciation for the city’s natural resources in a neighborhood that has historically lacked green space. We thank the Bronx River Alliance and other dedicated community groups who helped bring this park to fruition. We are honored to share in receiving the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, which recognizes the importance of Hunts Point Riverside Park for the Hunts Point community, for the Bronx, and for New York City.”
The Bruner Foundation stated, “The Rudy Bruner Award commends the community of Hunts Point, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the Bronx River Alliance for creating a new park in a degraded industrial area of the Bronx, providing a natural retreat and access to the Bronx River for Hunts Point residents. The project was one of five projects chosen as a winner from a field of 87 applicants.”
The 2009 Selection Committee chose Hunts Point Riverside Park from a field of 87 applicants as an outstanding example of urban place making. The Committee commended the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and Bronx River Alliance partners for:
• Creating a new park in a degraded industrial area of the Bronx, pro-viding a natural retreat, passive recreation and access to the Bronx River
• Establishing the first public recreational access to the Bronx River, and creating a showcase for ongoing river reclamation efforts
• Both establishing the first new park on the Bronx River Greenway and initiating the first stage of development of a fully articulated South Bronx Greenway
• Providing open space to a densely populated and under-served com-munity through a sustained and visionary grassroots effort
• Using design to “capture a sense of nature on a site located between a scrap metal yard and the world’s largest food distribution center.”
“We’re delighted to see this remarkable park get the national recognition it deserves,” said Bronx River Alliance Chair Joan Byron. “Hunts Point Riverside Park powerfully demonstrates how Environmental Justice communities and government can work together to effect far-reaching change, and, in particular, how those forces have joined to reclaim the Bronx River as a community asset.”
After working with the City to clean up the debris at the park site, local community organizations including The Point CDC and Sustainable South Bronx developed it into an ad-hoc gathering point for community events and river-oriented activities. A $3.3 million project funded by Mayor Bloomberg then transformed the lot into a popular neighborhood park featuring direct access to the Bronx River. Park amenities include a fishing and recreation pier with a floating dock, a water-themed playground, a central open lawn oval and a natural riverside amphitheater with stone seating and lawn panels. A quarter-acre of land conferred by the Hunts Point Produce Market and New York City Economic Development Corporation broadened the park’s shoreline along the Bronx River which was enhanced with a rebuilt bulkhead, an intertidal gravel beach and new plantings. Today, the park hosts numerous community events including the annual Fish Parade, weekly community boating trips, and the annual Amazing Bronx River Flotilla, a canoe procession down the river which ends at Hunts Point Riverside Park.
Hunts Point Riverside Park was designed by Parks’ Design Project Managers Nancy Prince and George Bloomer and Resident Engineer Ahamad Baksh and constructed by Xavier Contracting, LLC. The park sits at the beginning of the Bronx River Greenway, a multi-use bike and pedestrian path linking a set of linear parks that stretches from the South Bronx to the Westchester Border and will provide eight miles of continuous public access to the river when completed in 2012.
The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence is a national award for urban places that seeks to promote fresh and innovative thinking about cities and the urban built environment. Established in 1987, the Rudy Bruner Award celebrates urban places that are distinguished by quality design and by their social, economic, and environmental contributions to our nation’s cities. For information about the Bruner Foundation, visit www.brunerfoundation.org.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
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