October 6, 2004
Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk -- (212) 788-2958
Raynoff, (City Planning Press Secretary) -- (212)
Megan Sheekey (Parks) -- (212) 360-1311
David Chai / Maria Alvarado (Speaker’s Office)
-- (212) 788-0260
Joshua David (FHL) -- (212) 206-9922
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG
AND CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER GIFFORD MILLER ANNOUNCE
THREE MAJOR MILESTONES IN THE EFFORT TO TRANSFORM
THE HIGH LINE
Over $43 Million, State and the Railroads Join
City in Request for "Rail-Banking" and
Friends of the High Line & City Sign Contract
for Master Plan Design Team
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker
Gifford Miller today announced $43.25 million in capital
funding to design and build a great, new public open
space on the High Line, the unused elevated rail structure
on Manhattan’s West Side. The Mayor and Speaker
along with Friends of the High Line (FHL) also announced
the selection of a design team, led by landscape architecture
firm Field Operations with architects Diller Scofidio
+ Renfro, to create the master plan for the High Line.
Lastly, the High Line project took another vital step
forward when the State joined the City in a legal filing
seeking permission to transform the High Line into
public space through the federal rail-banking program.
City Planning Department Director Amanda Burden, Economic
Development Corporation: (www.nycedc.com/) President
Andrew Alper, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian
Benepe, FHL Co-Founders Robert Hammond and Joshua David,
Actor & FHL Member of the Board of Directors Edward
Norton, Field Operations Principal James Corner joined
the Mayor and Speaker for the announcement on the High
Line structure at 14th Street and 10th Avenue.
"These three developments are crucial to achieving
a central goal of our administration: creating a beautiful
new public amenity that will serve as the spine of
vibrant neighborhoods on Manhattan’s Far West
Side and create new economic benefits in the years
to come," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "As
the City’s population grows, we’ve got
to become more creative in developing open space and
the area along the High Line is a perfect illustration
of that innovative thinking taking place in New York
"As one of the High Line’s earliest supporters,
I’m especially proud of the Council’s vital
role in driving this project forward," said City
Council Speaker Gifford Miller. "The progress announced
today, which includes over $35 million in funds from
the Council, is essential to making the dream of the
High Line become a reality."
"Today we’re taking an important step forward
to realize the full potential of the High Line," Governor
George E. Pataki said. "Thanks to great cooperation
at all levels of government, the High Line can now be
transformed into a new open space for all New Yorkers
to enjoy. I want to commend the Friends of the High Line
for their enormous efforts to turn this out-of-use rail
structure into a beautiful greenway which will enhance
the West Side of Manhattan."
"What started as a grass-roots effort by a couple
of local residents has now become a model partnership
between the community, the City, the State, and the railroads," said
Edward Norton, actor and member of FHL Board of Directors. "It’s
a great example of what’s so amazing about New
York. Citizens take up a cause, and not only do their
leaders listen, but they actively work with them to create
something necessary and beautiful – something as
unique and spectacular as the city itself."
"We’re investing in the City’s future
economic vitality at the same time that we build a great
new park for future generations to enjoy," said
FHL Co-Founder Robert Hammond. "The transformation
of the High Line is expected generate over $250 million
in new real estate tax revenues over a twenty-year period.
We are extremely pleased that the State and the railroad
have joined the City in its efforts to create one of
the world’s most innovative public open spaces.
And we’re certain that Field Operations, working
with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, can define a vision for
the High Line that will make it a global model."
Funding Commitments Enable Project to Move Forward
Todays new funding increases the Citys commitment by $27.5 million for a total of $43.25 million over the next four years. The funds will pay for project costs such as planning, design, engineering and construction. To complement the Citys funding commitment, Congressman Jerrold Nadler has included $5 million for the High Line in the six-year federal transportation bill that is now moving through Congress. Senators Schumer and Clinton are working to supplement the $5 million while the bill is in the Senate.
Design Team Begins Master Planning Process
FHL and the City also announced today
that a team led by the landscape architecture firm Field Operations, working
with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, have been selected to create a master
plan for the High Line. A Steering Committee of representatives from the City
of New York and Friends of the High Line selected the Field Operations team after
a six-month selection process. The process began in March of 2004 with an open
Request for Qualifications, which drew 52 team responses. The field was narrowed
to four finalist teams in May of 2004, and the preliminary selection of the Field
Operations team was made in August of 2004.
The master planning process for the High Line will begin immediately; to engage
public participation in the master planning process, a community input forum
will be held on October 19th at 7:00 pm, at Metropolitan Pavilion, 110 West 19th
Street. This will be the first of many public programs designed to ensure a high
level of public participation in the planning process. To RSVP to the community
input forum, e-mail email@example.com.
The team selected by FHL and the
City to design the High Line master plan is led by Field Operations, a landscape
architecture firm based in New York City.
The architecture firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro will partner with Field Operations
in the master planning process. Horticulturist Piet Oudolf will guide the selection
of plant materials employed in the High Line landscape.
"The High Line is a once in a lifetime opportunity
to create one of the world’s most spectacular
public urban spaces," said Field Operations Design
Principal James Corner. "Imagine a mile-and-a-half
of surreal gardens in the sky, a linear stroll where
time slows down and the spectacle of nature in the
city is heightened to new levels of surprise and pleasure.
And the High Line raises a host of extraordinary opportunities
for new synthesis of ecology, art, urbanism, and urban
"We’re excited about re-tooling this distinctive
piece of industrial infrastructure for post industrial
use," said Elizabeth Diller, Architect and Principal
of Diller Scofidio + Renfro. "We foresee a new
paradigm from the intersection of visual culture, civic
responsibility, and public policy in which dualisms
such as nature/artifice will be dissolved."
"We are excited that we are able to apply an
innovative use of zoning to ensure light, air and public
access onto the future High Line," said DCP Director
Amanda Burden, who also participated in the selection
committee for the High Line design team. "By
successfully integrating this important industrial
artifact with an entirely new concept of open space,
we are creating a future treasure that we can enjoy
and that will create even greater value in this exciting
West Side neighborhood and for the city as a whole."
"The adaptive reuse of the High Line will add
a bold new dimension to the variety and quality of
public open space in New York City," said Parks
Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "The experience of
walking through a park suspended over the hustle and
bustle of the city streets will be second to none."
Federal Filing by State, Railroads, and City: A Powerful Push for Open Space Use
In one of the most significant developments to occur during the five-year High
Line initiative, the State of New York, CSX Transportation and Conrail, respectively
the current and former owners of the unused viaduct, and the City have filed
a joint legal petition to the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) transform
the High Line into public space through the federal rail-banking program. Rail-banking,
a process defined by federal legislation in 1983, allows rail easements across
the country to be used as public open space. Over 12,000 miles of rail corridors
across the country have been converted to rail-trails, many through rail-banking.
Were pleased with the progress that has been made toward resolving the status of the High Line, said John P. Casellini, Regional Vice President of Public Affairs, CSX Corporation. We look forward to our continued work with the City and State of New York to reach an agreement that will enable the line to be used for the publics benefit.
The City began the rail-banking process in December of 2002, when it petitioned the STB to grant a Certificate of Interim Trail Use (CITU) for the High Line. The issuance of a CITU would allow the City to negotiate with the railroads to open the Line to the public. The September 22nd filing adds crucial State and railroad support to the Citys 2002 CITU request. The State of New York signed onto the filing through the Empire State Development Corporation. Both CSX Transportation, the Lines current owner, and Conrail, its former owner, signed on to the filing.
The High Line was built in the 1930s as part of the West Side Improvement Project, one of New York Citys largest investments in transportation infrastructure. No trains have run on the structure since 1980. In 1999, neighborhood residents founded Friends of the High Line with the mission of converting the structure to an elevated public space a greenway or promenade. In December of 2002, the City took the first step in converting the High Line to a public walkway through federal rails-to-trails legislation. Friends of the High Line is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1999 to preserve the High Line for reuse as an elevated public open space. Support for the project comes from hundreds of local residents, business-owners, and civic organizations, as well numerous elected officials. For more information on Friends of the High Line, please visit www.thehighline.org: (www.thehighline.org/).
The High Line is private property, owned by CSX Transportation, and managed by CSX and the City. At this time, the site is not open to the public, and trespassers are subject to prosecution.
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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