Bronx River Greenway Gets Tranoformation Worth Nearly $40 Million
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Congressman José E. Serrano, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds Deputy Director David Evans, Amtrak Senior Vice President/Chief of Government Affairs and Corporate Communications Joe McHugh, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Council Member Rafael Salamanca, NYC DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora, and chair of the Bronx River Alliance Veronica Vanterpool, for a very special groundbreaking event to celebrate the restoration of the river, and to officially begin the greenway project that will close the critical South Bronx gap in the Bronx River Greenway.
This ceremony celebrates the beginning of a multi-phase project that will restore the shoreline of the Bronx River, extend Starlight Park, and close a major gap in the Bronx River Greenway. The first stage of this work will re-naturalize armored shorelines, restore wetlands, and reduce the vulnerability of Bronx communities to future coastal storms. The second stage will construct a critical link between Starlight and Concrete Plant Parks via paths and pedestrian bridges - one crossing Amtrak lines at E. 172 Street, and another crossing the Bronx River which will extend Starlight Park southward to Westchester Avenue. The connection will also incorporate the restored parcels completed in the first stage. This project was made possible through a collective of federal, state, and local agencies, with the active support of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.
“The Bronx River Greenway provides the unique opportunity to walk, jog, run or ride a bike along the only freshwater river in New York City,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Through the collaboration of our partners at the Bronx River Alliance, our elected officials and community stakeholders, we’ve made a tremendous investment in restoring the Bronx River and creating new opportunities for residents in the surrounding neighborhoods. This project will only serve to push forward the goals of our continued efforts.”
“As someone who fought for the revitalization of the Bronx River and the greening of the Bronx for many years, I am proud to help break ground on this important project to close the South Bronx gap in the Bronx River Greenway. Families deserve access to green spaces regardless of where they live or how much money they earn. The restoration of the Bronx River and creation of the Bronx River Greenway is a story of the Bronx’s own comeback - renewing not just the river, but the community as a whole. This project is an important part of that vision and it will help make sure Bronxites have safe, continuous access to the parks along the Greenway,” said Congressman José E. Serrano.
"On behalf of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, EPA is proud to be present to recognize the great accomplishment of local leaders to make the Bronx River Greenway vision come to life," said David Evans, Deputy Director of the Office of Wetlands, Oceans & Watersheds at US Environmental Protection Agency.
“Amtrak is pleased to be a partner in the Bronx River Greenway project,” said Joe McHugh, Amtrak Senior Vice President, Chief of Government Affairs and Corporate Communications. “It’s taken a number of years and a tremendous amount of perseverance from all parties to bring this project to a reality and it will provide a critical link in the Bronx River Greenway.”
“The Bronx River Greenway is one of the jewels of our borough, and I have supported its continued revitalization at every turn, going back to my days as a member of the New York State Assembly through today. These new upgrades will provide critical new recreation amenities for South Bronx residents, and I am proud to have partnered with NYC Parks, as well as my colleagues in government, to provide the Bronx River Greenway with the critical capital funding it requires,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
"Every time I visit Starlight Park, I'm in awe with how beautiful the Bronx River is, and that it's in our own backyard," exclaimed Council Member Rafael Salamanca. "This new phase of the Bronx River Greenway will only add additional opportunities for our families to enjoy their Bronx River, and that is incredibly exciting."
“DDC is very proud to be part of an effort to not only link communities along the Bronx River, but to also link the Bronx neighborhoods surrounding Starlight Park,” said New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “With three more new pedestrian bridges and additional entry points to the park, this project will bring together neighbors who have been cut off from each other by expressways and train lines. I look forward to the day when the Bronx River Greenway runs the length of the river, and Starlight Park is the hub of a rejoined community.”
“Today, we celebrate a key milestone that provides Bronx residents and visitors with improved connectivity along the Bronx River Greenway. After years of advocacy between community partners, government leaders and elected officials, the groundbreaking for Phase 2 of Starlight Park brings us closer to our goal for continuous access to some of the boroughs best recreation and transportation resources along the Bronx River,” said Veronica Vanterpool, Chair of the Bronx River Alliance.
Mayor de Blasio allocated $12 million toward the first stage of this project and an additional $4.4 million was awarded by the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program. The program, funded by the Hurricane Sandy disaster relief appropriation through the Department of the Interior (DOI), is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The US Department of Transportation awarded $10 million toward the second stage of the project through their Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program, while an additional $8.67 million was allocated by the New York State Department of Transportation through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program. In addition, Congressman José E. Serrano allocated $3.9 million, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. allocated $658,000 and State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. provided $200,000 through the Dormitory Authority State of New York (DASNY) program.
This project will complete one of the final missing links in the Bronx River Greenway, providing thousands of Bronx residents with access to Starlight Park and the Bronx River House, and also creating new opportunities to enjoy the improved waterway.
The NYC Department of Design and Construction is managing the project on behalf of NYC Parks, and The RBA Group will serve as the design consultant.