Fort Hill Park
The Daily Plant : Thursday, August 5, 2004
PARKS & RECREATION TAKES STATEN ISLAND BY STORM
New York City’s greenest borough is getting greener. On Monday, August 2, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe made a whirlwind tour of Staten Island. The Commissioner joined Borough President James P. Molinaro and Parks & Recreation Borough Commissioner Tom Paulo at two events during what has been a busy summer for Staten Island’s parks.
The day began with a dedication ceremony at Fort Hill Park—the site of a Revolutionary War fortification—with City Council Member Michael McMahon. Parks & Recreation acquired the .78-acre plot of land with $525,000 in funds allocated by Borough President Molinaro and Council Member McMahon.
Fort Hill Park, once Fort Knyphausen, sits on a wooded hillside area, built by Prussian general Baron Knyphausen while Staten Island was under British occupation during the American Revolution. In 1780 British troops successfully repelled the American Continental Army when they occupied New York. Because of its neighborhood location, Fort Hill Park will remain a passive park and will likely feature walking paths and seating. The existing woodlands will be preserved for the neighborhood to enjoy.
After a break for lunch, it was on to Midland Beach and a groundbreaking with Council Member James Oddo for a new skate park. The new skate park is 200,000 square feet and will include 22 ramp components. The park was designed by Peter Beeton, with the help of local teenagers who had advocated for a skate park at Midland Beach. The Resident Engineer on the project was George Erickson. Funding for the $550,000 construction project was allocated by the Mayor and the New York State Environmental Protection fund. This is the first public skate park in Staten Island and the fifth skate park Parks & Recreation has opened in the past three years. The others are Millennium Skate Park in Brooklyn, Riverside Skate Park in Manhattan, Mullaly Skate Park in the Bronx, and Forest Park Skate Park in Queens.
Monday’s events followed several other high profile events in Staten Island parks. In late June, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined the Borough President and Commissioner Benepe at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Greenbelt Nature Center, a $4.4 million visitor and orientation facility within the 2,800-acre Greenbelt. Just a month later, the Mayor was back in a Staten Island park to announce a $270,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for Mariner’s Marsh on the island’s northwest shore. The grant, which will be used to complete environmental assessments and testing, is a key step in transforming the 107-acre brownfield into a revitalized park and protected open space.
Borough Commissioner Tom Paulo recognized the renewed focus on Staten Island parks. "It is clear that Staten Island parks are a priority to the Bloomberg administration," said Commissioner Paulo. "With the growing population, both new parks and renovated parks are playing a more crucial role in our borough’s quality of life."
Written by Ashe Reardon
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"the sweet peas cling
to their wet white string
on the whitewashed fences;
inside the foxgloves,
and evening commences."
Excerpt from poem, "The Moose"