FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG BREAKS GROUND ON PHASE II OF THE HARLEM RIVER PARK GREENWAY & ESPLANADE
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today broke ground on the $8.7 million Phase II renovation of the Harlem River Park Greenway and Esplanade. This project, expected to be completed in August 2008, will open a new portion of the waterfront to the public, and extend the existing greenway and esplanade north from 139th Street to 142nd Street. Phase I, completed in 2003, opened a section of waterfront and established a greenway and esplanade from 135th Street to 139th Street. When this section is completed, New Yorkers will be able to travel on the waterfront from 60th Street to 142nd Street, with a ten-block detour that uses existing bike lanes to avoid a section of waterfront that is being used for necessary bridge repairs. The Mayor has allocated $5 million to the project, while $2 million was allocated through federal Transportation Equity Act (TEA) grants and $1.7 million was provided by State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) grants secured by Assembly Member Keith Wright. At the announcement the Mayor and Commissioner Benepe were joined by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Bill Perkins, and State Assembly Member Wright.
“Reclaiming our city’s waterfront is one of our Administration’s central strategies for creating the open spaces and recreational opportunities that improve the quality of life in every neighborhood,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The success of the Harlem River Park Greenway and Esplanade – and of all of our waterfront projects – depends on a continued partnership between City, state, and federal governments. I’d like to thank those who have worked so well on this and other waterfront projects for their vision and diligence.”
“Throughout the five boroughs, new parks and Greenways are connecting New Yorkers with the City’s great waterways,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “The construction of the Harlem River Park Greenway and Esplanade will bring our City one step closer to the creation of continuous waterfront access for all New Yorkers to enjoy.”
“I played in the Harlem River when I was growing up, so I am particularly happy that the section of the park that the folks of Harlem can enjoy is being expanded,” said Assembly Member Keith Wright. “We have made much progress since I first secured funding for this project, and I look forward to the day we cut the ribbon on this section of the park.”
“This project reclaims another section of our waterfront for New Yorkers and bring us closer to the goal of reopening our entire waterfront for public use,” said State Senator Bill Perkins. “My constituents need more parks and recreation services, and this expansion here in my district brings us closer to where we need to be.”
The Harlem River Park Greenway and Esplanade is designed to create a safe and inviting transportation alternative for bicyclists, walkers and joggers. The design highlights the site’s connection to the Harlem River, while minimizing the noise pollution of the adjacent Harlem River Drive through strategic plantings and other barriers. It will include new pavers, walls and curbs, game tables, fences, lighting, water supply and plantings. This section of the greenway is anticipated to be completed in August of 2008.
The Harlem River Park Greenway and Esplanade, located along the Harlem River between 125th Street and 145th Street, is comprised of 20 acres bounded to the south by the Tri-borough Bridge and to the north by the 145th Street Bridge. Phase I, which created a waterfront promenade with lawns and a spray shower, was completed in 2002 at a cost of $3.3 million. Future phases will address the 10 blocks between 125th and 135th Streets and the three block stretch from 142nd to 145th Streets.
Over the past five years, Parks & Recreation has spent more than $152 million for Manhattan park improvements, including new waterfront parks, bike paths, and greenways. Currently, Parks is in the midst of a major initiative to improve parks throughout Manhattan, with 42 projects totaling $187 million under construction, and another 55 projects costing $141 million currently in design or procurement.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Warner Johnston (Parks and Recreation)
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