FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSIONER ADRIAN BENEPE TOUR HISTORIC FORT TOTTEN
50 Acres of Land to Become Public Parkland
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and State Senator Frank Padavan today toured Fort Totten, a Civil War-era Army base on a peninsula overlooking Long Island Sound in Bayside, Queens.
At the end of the summer the transfer of 49.5 acres of land from the National Parks Service and the Department of Defense to New York City for use as a public park will be finalized. When completed, the park will be developed for active and passive use.
"New Yorkers are witnessing an unprecedented transformation of the City's waterfront," said Mayor Bloomberg. "From the North Shore of Staten Island to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to the Bronx River, we are revitalizing our waterfront where derelict and abandoned factories once existed. Fort Totten will be among the most spectacular of these new parks, with its breathtaking views of the East River and Long Island Sound."
"The Bloomberg Administration is committed to improving and expanding access to our City's waterfront," said Commissioner Benepe. "Fort Totten, with its historic fortifications and distinguished collection of Civil War-era buildings, has tremendous potential as a public park and its transfer will give New Yorkers of all ages the opportunity to enjoy this magnificent piece of waterfront property."
"Fort Totten is a wonderful resource located in one of the most scenic areas of New York City," said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. "This new park is the result of an exhaustive reuse plan formulated by the Fort Totten Redevelopment Authority, chaired by the Queens Borough President and the Mayor's Office. The Authority's worked tirelessly to prepare a plan that preserved the historic and scenic nature of the property, while ensuring the continued public access to the open areas of the fort. The plan evolved with continuous input from local elected officials and the local community.
I want to thank Congressman Gary Ackerman and all the other local, state and federal officials who recognized that the future use of historic Fort Totten was a major issue that required a combined focus on what was best for an area that had been part of the nation's defense since the Civil War era."
"Fort Totten is a unique and historic place," said Senator Padavan. "I am proud to have experienced all that it represents as both a member of the armed forces and as a civilian. It will be a shining jewel in the New York City Parks system."
The 49.5 acres of open space includes Civil War era fortifications, an enclave of 11 historic buildings, a 13-acre parade ground with soccer fields, and an area on the north end of the site that will be converted to a passive park with views of Long Island Sound. Parks & Recreation is finalizing a management plan for the development of the site.
The Federal Base Closure & Realignment Commission recommended closure of Fort Totten in 1995. 50 of the 90 acres given to the City will be used for a public park and 31 acres are used by the Fire Department for a training academy. The remaining nine acres are used by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Associations or are protected wetlands under the Parks Department's control. Approximately 38 acres will remain under the control of the 77th Regional Support Command of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Parks & Recreation recently broke ground earlier this year on its first capital project at the fort with funding allocated by State Senator Frank Padavan and Borough President Marshall.
This project will help stabilize and restore the Fort's Civil War era fortifications for future generations of park visitors.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Megan Sheekey (Parks)
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