New Waterfront Park Slated for Jamaica Bay

QUEENS, NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., 12/28/2009: A vacant Jamaica Bay waterfront property along Beach 88th Street in Queens will become a new park, The Trust for Public Land announced today.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, negotiated a conservation solution for the waterfront land with the landowner in 2008. Slated for 20 single-family homes on a little more than one acre, a new park will instead offer the community more than 500 feet of Jamaica Bay shoreline. It is expected that the property will host activities such as fishing, picnicking, and launching small human-powered boats.

In accordance with an ongoing effort to mitigate the community and environmental impacts of its facilities, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey decision in October authorized funding from the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program to help TPL purchase the 1.26-acre property. The Port Authority funding would allow for TPL to donate the property to the City of New York to be developed as a new park.

“The Port Authority is clearly committed to preservation along in the area surrounding the Hudson-Raritan Estuary and, with New York City’s Parks Department stewardship, a new park can be created along Jamaica Bay,” said Leslie Wright, New York State director of The Trust for Public Land. “TPL is proud to continue supporting both the needs of New York neighborhoods in gaining new, much-needed park space, and our city harbor and estuaries in maintaining sound ecological balance. This does both.”

“New York City is committed to increasing access to our waterfront. From the East River, to the Hudson River, to the Bronx River, to Jamaica Bay, there are more opportunities than ever for New Yorkers to enjoy active and passive recreation,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “I am grateful to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for funding this project and to The Trust for Public Land for their leadership in acquiring this property, which will provide a new venue for fishing, picnicking, and more along the southern Queens waterfront.”

The Jamaica Bay community only has 1.16 acres of parks per 1,000 residents and a new park would serve more than 2,400 people living within a quarter-mile. This property was identified as a desirable public access point to Jamaica Bay in Buffer the Bay Revisited, a joint publication of TPL and New York City Audubon.

TPL, in partnership with the Port Authority, has a long history supporting conservation along the rivers and estuaries of New York City. Similar recent additions to the City’s network of open space, funded with Port Authority support include, North Mount Loretto State Forest, North Shore Waterfront Park, an addition to Crescent Beach Park, South Beach Wetlands, and most recently, Idlewild Marsh.

TPL is supporting community efforts to reclaim public access to the waterways, protect natural lands, and increase parkland in the country’s most densely populated urban area. This ambitious undertaking stretches from Staten Island, through the lower and upper portions of New York Bay, and along both sides of the Hudson River up to the northern tip of Manhattan. TPL to date has protected more than 600 acres that connect to the harbor in New York City, including Old Place Creek in Staten Island, South Brother Island in Bronx, and East River State Park in Brooklyn.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Across the nation, TPL has helped protect more than 2.8 million acres. In New York, TPL has helped conserved 125,000 acres. In only the last few years, TPL has helped conserve the Grasse River Forest in the Adirondacks, add parkland and improve park access in the Hudson Valley, Highlands and Finger Lakes region, create new state parks on Long Island’s North Fork and in Brooklyn, and create parks and playgrounds in New York City. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission.