FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES FIRST PARK PROJECT OF THE FRESH KILLS REDEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN
$6 Million Owl Hollow Fields to Begin the Transformation of Fresh Kills
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the creation of Owl Hollow Fields at Fresh Kills. The $6 million, 28-acre park project is the first in the $100 million Fresh Kills Master Plan and will be funded by $5 million from the Mayor's Executive Budget, along with $450,000 in federal funding and $550,000 from the City Council. When completed in the fall of 2007, Owl Hollow Fields will include ten acres of active recreation space with two synthetic and two natural turf soccer fields, as well as new fitness and nature trails. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by Congressman Vito Fossella, Borough President James P. Molinaro, Councilmember Andrew J. Lanza, Assemblyman Vincent Ignizio and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
"Owl Hollow Fields marks the beginning of one of the greatest environmental reclamation projects ever undertaken," said Mayor Bloomberg. "In addition to providing residents of the South Shore with much-needed space for athletic events or just relaxing outdoors, Owl Hollow Fields is the first part of the transformation of the Fresh Kills Landfill into a world class park. When Fresh Kills Park is complete, its 2,200 acres of recreation space, wetlands, woodlands meadows and open water will be two and a half times the size of Central Park and will increase the total amount of open space on Staten Island to nearly 30% of the entire borough."
"These soccer fields will ease the overcrowding at Miller Field and other parks and give Staten Island youngsters access to a beautiful new park," said Congressman Fossella. "This initiative is truly a joint venture between my office, Councilman Lanza, Assemblyman Ignizio and Mayor Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg deserves praise for recognizing the importance of this project and dedicating the funding to help make it a reality. It demonstrates the victories we can achieve for Staten Island when we work together in the best interest of the people we represent."
"I would like to thank the Mayor for living up to his commitment by furnishing these fields for the fastest-growing sport on Staten Island, soccer," said Borough President Molinaro. "Once again, Mayor Bloomberg has come through for the residents of Staten Island."
Construction on the 28-acre site will begin in the spring of 2006 and be completed in the fall of 2007. Owl Hollow Fields will be outfitted with bleachers, new benches, picnic tables, lighting and drinking fountains throughout the park. The new fitness and nature trails will provide a link to the adjacent Arden Height Woods and eventually the rest of Fresh Kills Park. A new open drainage system will enhance the wetland habitat serving as a bio-filter for storm water run-off. The project also includes construction of a new comfort station and parking lot.
"We are committed to building more and better active recreation facilities for the people of Staten Island - especially the fast growing South Shore area - and all of New York City," said Commissioner Benepe. "In September, we completed the $20 million development of Bloomingdale Park, and we plan to begin the construction of 15 acres of active and passive recreation land at Fairview Park this year. And earlier this year, we broke ground on a new synthetic turf soccer field at Midland Beach."
"I am pleased to be able to help turn this parcel of land - once part of the world's largest landfill - into a valuable recreational facility for our young people," said Commissioner Doherty. "As a child growing up on Staten Island, I played in the marshlands and streams that ultimately formed the Fresh Kills landfill. It is rewarding to know that today's youth will also be able to enjoy that same experience - only this time on a state-of-the-art soccer field."
"Owl Hollow Fields is one of the first visible steps toward realizing our goal of redeveloping all of Fresh Kills into public open space," said City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden. "Over the past eighteen months, our administration has been working with the public to develop a vision of parkland for the former landfill. These soccer fields are part of a broader park plan that will bring new habitats and activities to Fresh Kills for Staten Islanders and New Yorkers to enjoy."
Staten Island's South Shore is one of the City's fastest growing communities. The new sports fields and walking paths at Owl Hollow Fields will serve the area's growing population, which has demonstrated a need for additional active recreation facilities. The new sports fields will be a popular venue for local soccer leagues and community organizations.
The Fresh Kills Master Plan is being spearheaded by City Planning and has involved hundreds of members of the community to plan for the transformation of the former Fresh Kills Landfill into a world class park. As one of the City's most ambitious projects, the 2,200 acres will be further transformed through ecological reclamation of the landfill mounds and preservation and enhancement of extraordinary, existing natural habitats. The current draft plan maps out 330 acres of passive and active recreation space which includes Owl Hollow Fields, 130 acres of open water, 315 acres of wetlands, 770 acres of meadows and 525 acres of woodlands. There will also be extensive opportunities for cultural and educational programming throughout the park. Park drives will serve the major destinations within the park and improve traffic flow from Richmond Avenue to the West Shore Expressway. As Owl Hollow Fields demonstrate, Fresh Kills Park will be designed to integrate diverse activities into diverse landscapes, always respecting the ecology of the park and region. Park access will begin in 2007 and will increase in phases over the next 30 years.
Edward Skyler/Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Rachaele Raynoff (City Planning)
Warner Johnston (Parks)
Vito Turso (Sanitation)