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Transfer Marks Important Milestone in Development of Brooklyn’s Newest Major Park in 135 Years.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki today announced the transfer of Piers 1, 2, 3 and part of Pier 5 owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC). This action follows the approval in January of the General Project Plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). The 85-acre park, now in development, stretches approximately 1.3 miles along the East River from Atlantic Avenue to north of the Manhattan Bridge, and will be Brooklyn’s first major new park since the creation of Prospect Park 135 years ago. The State and City’s support will make this one of the most significant public investments in the creation of a park outside of Manhattan in more than a hundred years. The project will create 2,500 jobs and generate over $260 million a year in increased economic activity for the City and State. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, ESDC Chairman Charles A. Gargano, Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding and BBPDC Vice Chair Daniel L. Doctoroff, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, BBPDC President Wendy Leventer, Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert Walsh and DUMBO Business Improvement District Executive Director Tucker Reed attended the announcement at Pier 2.
“This is an important milestone in the creation of what is set to become one of New York City’s most magnificent public spaces,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Brooklyn Bridge Park will become the quintessential example of our Administration’s commitment to return the City’s waterfronts to its residents and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods in all five boroughs. Its creation will also be the linchpin of the dramatic expansion of recreational and economic opportunity occurring throughout the area – redevelopment of Governors Island across the Buttermilk Channel, the revitalization of the East River Waterfront in Lower Manhattan, the new Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and Fairway Market in Red Hook, and new industrial maritime activities coming to Sunset Park.”
“The official transfer of Piers 1, 2, 3 and 5 of the Brooklyn Marine Terminal from the Port Authority to Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Authority is a significant milestone in the transformation of this underutilized property into a vibrant park,” said Governor George E. Pataki. “With new access points to the water including a public boat ramp and an expanded pebble beach, and human-powered boat access to the East River and new features including tidal pools, a salt marsh, fishing piers, an expanded beach, and new floating walkways opening up views of the harbor and Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge Park will provide a priceless component to Brooklyn and will help bring New Yorkers throughout this great city together to enjoy spectacular views, endless fun and most importantly, their families.”
“The most beautiful American park of the 21st century – the emerald in Kings County’s crown – becomes peerless with the transfer of these piers,” said Borough President Markowitz. “Brooklyn also needs more jobs and economic development, of which the new DUMBO BID and Wireless Generation are just the first taste. Whether it’s parks, jobs, investment, waterfront access, or unrivaled skyline views – with Brooklyn Bridge Park, it’s all natural.”
“We are pleased that these abandoned piers will be transformed into a spectacular waterfront park that will allow residents and tourists alike to enjoy breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline,” said Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler. “The waterfront has been a key part of the fabric of Brooklyn life for more than 100 years, and this project will provide more access to this important resource.”
“It’s very exciting to see Brooklyn Bridge Park take another step forward,” said ESDC Chairman and Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano. “This park will offer residents and visitors an oasis within New York City and will boast access to the waterfront and sweeping and magnificent views of Manhattan and the East River. Users of the park will enjoy several types of playing fields, miles of boardwalks and pathways and areas for kayaking and other water activities. Brooklyn Bridge Park will truly be a priceless resource for our City.”
“New Yorkers are being reminded of their City’s waterfront heritage and Brooklyn Bridge Park is central to all of that, especially our emerging Harbor District,” said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff. “In a city that has more than 570 miles of waterfront, we are determined to make more and more of it accessible and inviting, and today’s action brings us another giant step forward in making Brooklyn Bridge Park a reality for the residents of and visitors to Brooklyn.”
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a cooperative effort between the City and State to replace abandoned piers, parking lots and storage sheds with waterfront recreational open space in one of the most majestic locations in New York Harbor. New York City is providing $65 million and New York State is providing $85 million for the design and construction of the park. Construction costs are estimated at $130 million and annual maintenance costs are estimated at $15.2 million. Design for the park is being finalized with construction scheduled to begin on Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, the first phase of the project, in 2007. The park will be 85% complete by 2010. Interim recreational activities are being planned for the site this summer including walking tours for the public.
The new park will have public plazas, a bicycle path, restored marshland, two playing fields for soccer, field hockey, softball, cricket and football, courts for basketball, handball, volleyball and tennis, as well as an in-line hockey rink and playgrounds. The park will also feature four miles of promenades, boardwalks and floating walkways. Twelve acres of paddling waters will be created for kayaks, rowboats, and other water sports. Fishing piers and a marina are also planned. The updated design also features new access to the water from the park, including a public boat ramp, an extended pebble beach, tidal pools, and a salt marsh.
To ensure the park is properly maintained, the site will contain a limited amount of revenue-generating development. Approximately 10% of the area will be devoted to housing, hotel, retail space and parking. The architectural firm of Robert A.M. Stern recently joined the project team to prepare design guidelines for the development of the uplands of Pier 1 and 6, and a John Street site. These guidelines will ensure the highest quality of architecture for the buildings within the park to be concentrated at its edges at each entrance.
“We are clearly in the midst of an economic and social renaissance in Brooklyn,” said Senator Martin Golden. “From the Brooklyn Bridge Park to the Atlantic Yards Project, we are creating a generation of good paying jobs while improving the beauty of our communities. Brooklyn is alive and I thank Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki for their unwavering commitment and support.”
“I am pleased that today we can finally continue with the process of building a world class park that will benefit not just Brooklyn, but all of New York City,” said Senator Martin Connor. “I look forward to working with the Mayor, the Governor, and the Development Corporation and community organizations to help the construction of this long awaited project.”
“For decades we have been working to take back the Brooklyn waterfront for our constituents, and this property transfer will put us one step closer,” said Assemblywoman Joan Millman. “I look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future, when people of all ages are enjoying the 85 acres of world-class active recreation, and world-class views right here in Downtown Brooklyn.”
Launch of Brooklyn’s Newest BID and Welcome of Wireless Generation’s New Headquarters to the Area
The Mayor also announced the launch of the new DUMBO Business Improvement District (BID), signed into law in December 2005, which encompasses the area surrounding the park from Old Fulton Street on the east to as far west as Gold Street. The DUMBO BID, one of 54 BIDs located throughout the five boroughs, will make immediate improvements to the quality of life and the business climate in the district by providing supplemental sanitation, maintenance and marketing services for the more than 570 businesses that comprise one of Brooklyn’s most dynamic and fastest growing neighborhoods.
“DUMBO is the perfect place for a new BID as businesses move into the area,” added Mayor Bloomberg. “DUMBO has become a great place to live, work and shop, and with the leadership of Executive Director Tucker Reed, the BID’ services will ensure that DUMBO continues to grow and thrive.”
One of DUMBO’s newest businesses is Wireless Generation, which last week moved its headquarters and 150 employees from midtown Manhattan to offices on Washington Street across from Brooklyn Bridge Park. The company delivers educational software and services that enable schools to use real-time data about student progress to improve reading and math achievement and to reduce special education referrals. The company currently works with 84 New York City public schools in the Reading First Program and with thousand of schools across the country.
“We are thrilled to be among DUMBO’s new residents and its largest employer,” said Larry Berger, Wireless Generation’s CEO and Co-Founder. “It is the ideal place for us to put down roots and grow, and we look forward to contributing to the continued development and life of the neighborhood.”