FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES TRANSFER OF FORMER ELMHURST GAS TANKS SITE TO CITY
Public Service Commission Approval Granted to Transform the 6.5-acre Site into a Public Park
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was today joined by KeySpan Chairman and CEO Robert B. Catell to announce the transfer of the former site of the Elmhurst Gas Tanks from the KeySpan Corporation to the City. The City has been granted approval from the Public Service Commission to transform the 6.5-acre site into a public park, which will bring much-needed recreation space to Queens’ most densely populated district. The Mayor has allocated $19.6 million in capital funds over the next three years towards the park’s construction, which is scheduled to begin next year.
“Two years ago, KeySpan agreed to sell the Elmhurst gas tanks site to the City for $1 so we can transform it into a great park, and today we take a great step towards making that happen,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Today the property is officially transferred to the City and we can now proceed with the design and building of a beautiful new park for this community. I want to thank Bob Catell for his commitment to providing much needed recreation space that will be enjoyed by Queens residents for generations to come.”
“KeySpan is pleased to partner with the Mayor and his parks dept to create a lasting legacy in this community,” said Robert B. Catell. “It is both gratifying and appropriate that this space, once known for its landmark gas tanks which powered homes and businesses, be transformed into a different kind of landmark, which provides a place to relax and play in a diverse borough so deserving of more open space.”
At the State of the City Address in January 2004, the Mayor handed Robert Catell a one dollar bill and announced that the City would acquire the land from KeySpan Corporation and develop it for public use space in Elmhurst, Queens. Since then, KeySpan has worked extensively with the State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination, to clean up the property and prepare it for public use. Parks & Recreation, though Partnerships for Parks, has been working with surrounding communities in recent months to gauge public opinion on the property’s design. Parks also distributed hundreds of flyers in area parks, including Spanish and Chinese versions, in order to reach the broadest cross section of residents possible.
The site, which is bounded by 57th Avenue, Grand Avenue, 80th Street and the Long Island Expressway, is the former home of the iconic circular structures known as the “Elmhurst Tanks.” The tanks were built in the early 20th century, and were demolished in the 1990’s after supplying gas to Queens residents for 80 years. Though the borough of Queens is generally well-served by parkland, the Elmhurst site lies in an area that currently lacks open-space amenities. Community District 4 is the most densely populated area of Queens.
Edward Skyler/Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Warner Johnston (Parks)
Jody Fisher (KeySpan) (718) 403-2503