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April 6, 2006

Rachaele Raynoff, Press Secretary (City Planning) -- (212) 720-3471


April 6, 2006 - City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden today announced the release of the Draft Master Plan for the 2,200-acre Fresh Kills Park, a blueprint for reclaiming the largest landfill in the country for public use. The plan, produced with extensive involvement by the Parks Department, offers a dynamic picture of what will be New York City's most expansive new open space.  It envisions how the park will one day look and be experienced, and identifies a broad variety of activities, such as kayaking and mountain biking, that would make Fresh Kills unique among New York City parks. The project will now move forward into environmental and land use review so that the site can be mapped as a city park.  Construction on the first phase of the park, including the park drives, may begin early in 2008.

"Fresh Kills Park will be a once-in-a-lifetime addition to the city's park system and a model for land reclamation projects around the world. The Draft Master Plan is a significant step toward the transformation from landfill into a magnificent open space for all New Yorkers," said Director Burden.  "The Bloomberg administration is delivering on its promise to the people of Staten Island." 

With the Draft Master Plan complete, the Department of Parks and Recreation will spearhead construction of the park with an initial allocation of $100 million in city capital funds for the first phase of the project.

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe said, "The completion of the draft master plan brings us the next step closer to the historic development of Fresh Kills Park. It marks a seminal moment for New York City's parks that will have an impact for generations to come. Fresh Kills Park will serve as the big new backyard for Staten Islanders and be a destination for all New Yorkers."

The 61-page large-format color Draft Master Plan outlines the range of diverse habitats as well as an extensive system of park drives and bikeways that will provide Staten Islanders and other visitors easy access into and through the park. The plan envisions five distinct sub-areas within Fresh Kills, each planned around its physical attributes and responding to the desires expressed by the public during extensive outreach.  It also details how landfill closure, monitoring and phased access will ensure the public's safety at Fresh Kills.

Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty said:  "The Fresh Kills landfill served the Department of Sanitation and all New Yorkers well during its half-century in service.  Now, Fresh Kills is on the verge of becoming a world-class parkland where millions of visitors will one day come to enjoy themselves in a variety of recreational and educational ways."

The first recreational facility at Fresh Kills, the Owl Hollow Soccer Fields at the southeastern boundary of the site, should be completed for play next spring. After environmental review, additional parts of the park could open to the public by 2009.  In the interim, public site tours will continue to be held monthly by the City starting in the spring. Temporary facilities are planned as a starting place for tours and special events and to provide information on the site. To achieve the goal of using renewable energy, a meteorological tower will be mounted on the North Mound within the week to assess the site's potential for wind generated energy, a project advocated by Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro.

 "First and foremost this master plan embodies the fact that Fresh Kills will never reopen as the City's garbage disposal facility and focuses on renewal and rebirth.  It shows how, working together, we are planning the evolution of a 20th-century blight on the landscape into a 21st century "lifescape".  I encourage every Island resident to read this plan and participate in this exciting public process," said Borough President Molinaro.

The plan was created by the landscape architecture firm Field Operations, the winner of an international design competition for the project, managed by the Department of City Planning (DCP) in collaboration with the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Department of Sanitation and other city and state agencies. Field Operations is expected to continue its involvement with the project through environmental and land use review and as a design consultant for first phase improvements. The Draft Master Plan is being sent to local elected officials, community boards, and larger public library branches throughout the borough as well as Staten Island colleges.  It will also be on display at the Staten Island Greenbelt Conservancy Headquarters, DCP's Staten Island office at 130 Stuyvesant Place and at other Staten Island locations.  It can also be seen in DCP's lobby at 22 Reade Street in Manhattan.  An electronic version of the plan will be available on the Fresh Kills Park website,

The five planned sub-areas of Fresh Kills Park are:

  • The center of the Park, known as the Confluence, is shaped by the Richmond, Main and Fresh Kills creeks.  Taking advantage of this unique feature, the plan proposes that the focus of this area be on the water and related active and passive recreation, community gatherings, cultural and limited park-related commercial uses.
  • The North Park is envisioned as a lightly programmed natural area with neighborhood recreation uses adjacent to the Travis community.
  • Based on community input and capitalizing on the topography of lowland areas that have not been landfilled, the proposed plan for the South Park includes active recreation, programmed natural areas and neighborhood park uses near the Arden Heights community. The South Mound, in this same area, is well suited for sports requiring a highly varied terrain such as mountain biking.
  • The East Park's large-scale open spaces offer opportunities for recreation, possibly including a golf course, and for large public art installations such as the overlooks and interpretive lighting proposed by the Department of Sanitation's Percent for Art Artist, Mierle Laderman Ukeles. The area also includes a 70-acre fresh water marsh area well suited for bird watching and eco-education.
  • The West Park offers access to long-distance trails or cross-country running and skiing and other passive and un-programmed active recreation. The plan for this area also includes a proposal for an earthwork monument to the 9-11 World Trade Center Recovery Effort which took place on the top of the West Mound. 

In addition, the City plans at least two connections through Fresh Kills from Richmond Avenue to the West Shore Expressway with new entrances at Richmond Avenue (one at Richmond Hill Road and one at Forest Hill Road).  While the Draft Master Plan for Fresh Kills Park examined single-lane, two-way drives and determined that they would meet future demand, as part of continuing work on the planning for Fresh Kills Park and for the Mayor's Transportation Task Force, the City will also evaluate the feasibility of a roadway system with two lanes in each direction to provide added capacity for future, long term growth. 

The city and state environmental reviews, and the city's charter-mandated Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), will allow for additional public involvement beginning with an environmental Scoping Meeting, planned for May. At the meeting, and in written comments submitted after the meeting, members of the public may comment on the topics and issues they believe should be analyzed in the environmental review.  Once the environmental review is complete, the plan will undergo formal public review under ULURP. The master plan outlines a process for continuing public involvement as the plan is implemented and the park inevitably changes in response to nature and evolving community needs.  Public input will continue to be an essential foundation for the future of Fresh Kills Park.

About City Planning
The Department of City Planning is responsible for the City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including land use and environmental review; preparation of plans and policies; and provision of technical assistance and planning information to government agencies, public officials, and community boards.

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