Image via NYC Parks and Recreation
The effort to turn Fresh Kills Landfill into a verdant and vibrant destination for wildlife and outdoor recreation received a huge boost on Monday (h/t DNA Info) as the city awarded a $22.9 million contract for the construction of the first major section of Freshkills Park. Up until now, the swath of Staten Island land—covering 2,200 acres of former dumping ground that has since undergone nearly two decades of remediation—has remained closed to the public, save for a few times a year when select areas are opened for “Discovery Days” that introduce visitors to the terrain and events that will eventually become mainstays of Freshkills when it is completed in 2036.
The first phase of the construction will be led by Lomma Construction Corp. and includes 21 acres of the North Park. As DNA Info notes, this is one of the most sheltered areas of Freshkills and it will be kept largely natural with discreet additions including a seven-acre seed farm, an observation tower for birdwatching, a picnic lawn, composting restrooms, a waterfront overlook deck, a bicycle repair station, a forested plateau, bike/ped pathways, and limited parking for visitors. The site will also connect Schmul Park to the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, two projects on the outer boundaries of the former landfill that were redeveloped in 2012 and 2013.
Rendering of bird watching at Freshkills via NYC Parks and Recreation
This first phase of the park is expected to open to the public year-round in 2020, while the park in its entirety is anticipated to open in 2036.
Freshkills is almost three times the size of Central Park and considerably more biologically diverse. As the park’s administrator Eloise Hirsh shared with 6sqft in 2014, “The wildlife has returned, and there are all kinds of birds, deer, groundhogs, and foxes.” A number of rare insects have also returned to the site.
[Via DNA Info]
Tags : freshkills park
Neighborhoods : Staten Island