Plan for Staten Island Waterfront Park (NY)

New York, NY, 2/10/03 The Port Authority, the Trust for Public Land, the Staten Island Borough President and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation today announced plans to purchase 9.5 acres of environmentally valuable land on Staten Island’s North Shore – the first land to be acquired under a Port Authority fund established to buy and preserve property for public use and natural resource preservation.

The property, known as the Blissenbach Marina or North Shore Waterfront Park, will provide Staten Island residents with superb waterfront access and outstanding views of ship traffic traveling along the Kill van Kull. It is located between Richmond Terrace and the waterfront in the West Brighton neighborhood.

The acquisition of this property, located in a densely populated area deprived of parkland, presents a truly unique opportunity to reclaim a portion of a traditionally closed-off industrial waterfront for public use.

The property will be purchased under a $60 million program designed to help the Port Authority balance its redevelopment plans with the need to preserve critical habitat and waterfront areas for public use. New York and New Jersey each get $30 million, and New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey is still determining which land will be purchased in that state. The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation organization, negotiated the Staten Island land purchase on behalf of the Port Authority.

New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “The Staten Island waterfront is a key natural resource that must be preserved for future generations to enjoy. Working side-by-side with environmental groups, we are identifying and working to preserve key tracts of land that will either improve access to the waterfront or preserve ecologically sensitive areas.”

“TPL applauds and supports the Governors of New York and New Jersey and the Port Authority for their foresight in creating and implementing this harbor land acquisition program,” said Erik Kulleseid, New York State program director for the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit land conservation organization.

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles Gargano said, “The growth of Staten Island’s North Shore has been phenomenal during the past decade. It serves as home to a new minor league ballpark, a major marine terminal, numerous cultural organizations and steady residential growth. We must ensure that we balance this rapid rate of development with the need to preserve critical parcels of land along the waterfront to greatly enhance the quality of life for residents who live and work there.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin M. Crotty said, “The acquisition of this parcel on Staten Island will protect critical habitats and open up additional shoreline access, which will enhance opportunities for fishing and other outdoor activities. Governor Pataki has made significant investments in preserving New York’s natural resources, and this agreement provides new opportunities for the public to enjoy them.”

New York City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe said, “Improving public access to the waterfront and creating new parks and natural areas is a priority of Mayor Bloomberg. Parks & Recreation looks forward to working with the Port Authority, the Trust for Public Land, Borough President Molinaro and Council Member McMahon to provide new parks for the people of Staten Island’s North Shore and wildlife refuges for our animal inhabitants.”

The Port Authority is negotiating with property owners in New York and New Jersey for other sites that environmental groups have identified as candidates for preservation. The properties under consideration are required to meet several criteria, including the ability to provide public access to waterfront areas; the ability to provide buffer areas around existing Port Authority facilities; and the ability to preserve key natural resource areas.

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. To date, TPL has protected more than 1.5 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 including community gardens.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The agency is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.