Land Added to Soundview Park (Bronx, NY)

New York, NY, 7/22/02:Governor George E. Pataki today announced the preservation of a critical parcel of land as an addition to Soundview Park in the Bronx — a step that will help to protect green space in an urban setting, while also providing a link for local residents to access a variety of natural resources.

“We’re committed to ensuring that families in urban neighborhoods have additional opportunities to enjoy the natural resources in their local communities,” Governor Pataki said. “The acquisition and preservation of this parcel is another important step in our efforts to protect green spaces in New York City and to expand access to the wonderful Bronx River Trail.”

State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. said, “Governor Pataki is to be commended for his major contributions to the preservation of our parkland and its enjoyment by residents of the Bronx for many years to come.”

State Assemblyman Ruben Diaz said, “By acquiring this Soundview Park parcel, Governor Pataki continues to be a leading proponent of land acquisition as a means to place land under stewardship to protect and expand our city’s accessible greenbelt for each and every resident of the State. Once again, the Governor has shown himself to be at the forefront of reclaiming, protecting and preserving the precious environmental resources and green recreational spaces that are the natural birthright of all New Yorkers.”

The 0.16-acre parcel is located west of O’Brien and Leland avenues in the Soundview section of the southern Bronx. The parcel was privately-owned and due to its location, subject to potential development. The State, utilizing $97,100 from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act (ISTEA), purchased the property from the Trust for Public Land (TPL). Under an agreement with the State, TPL acquired the land in 2001 to protect it from development. The State Department of Transportation (DOT), which administers ISTEA funding, provided the grant to DEC as part of a larger program for parkland acquisitions along the Bronx River corridor.

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty said, “By protecting an important greenspace property in this urban setting, we are opening up new opportunities for people of all ages to visit and enjoy our natural resources and gain a greater appreciation of our environment. Governor Pataki has made significant investments in land preservation projects across New York, and this project will preserve a valuable parcel along the Bronx River and help create a vibrant urban park for future generations.”

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph H. Boardman said, “The preservation of urban greenspace gives those who live in our largest communities a place to get away from the hustle-and- bustle of the city and enjoy the peace, tranquility and aesthetic beauty of well-kept parks such as Soundview. Under the leadership of Governor Pataki, the State Department of Transportation has, and will continue to offer the necessary technical and financial assistance to preserve and expand these precious resources in our cities.”

New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said, “Small drops of water combine to create rivers and mighty oaks grow from tiny acorns. So too, this newest acquisition of open space by the State is another step in the development of the Bronx River Greenway. Parks is happy to join the State Department of Environmental Conservation to show our commitment to restore the Bronx River and develop its greenway, and we look forward to seeing this waterfront property becoming more accessible for all New Yorkers.”

Clark Wallace, project manager for the Trust for Public Land, said, “This protection effort by Governor Pataki is a testament to the State’s commitment to providing additional parkland for urban residents. We are delighted to have played a role in protecting this property as a critical link in the Bronx River Trail.”

In addition to preserving green space in the community, the parcel serves as a link to the Bronx River Trail, a recreational path planned along the Bronx River from the Kensico Dam in Westchester County to the mouth of the river at Long Island Sound. The trail will link neighborhoods in the Bronx and provide access to the shores of the Bronx River. Soundview Park contains one of the first completed portions of the trail.

The parcel, which is adjacent to property protected by a partnership of the State and TPL in 1989, has been a priority acquisition for the State, TPL, the City of New York, and the Bronx River Alliance, a coalition of 60 community and environmental organizations.

Since 1995, the State of New York has invested more than $350 million to preserve more than 325,000 acres of land. In his 2002 State of the State Address, Governor Pataki proposed the preservation of 1 million additional acres of land over the next 10 years.

The Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate. To date, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres of land nationwide, including more than 56,700 acres in New York State. TPL also has helped gain permanent protection for more than 300 acres of land in New York City and has provided organizational, outreach, real estate and construction assistance to hundreds of community groups.