Ribbon-Cutting Celebration Held at Staten Island’s Heritage Park

A ribbon-cutting celebration was held today for a new passive recreational park located along the waterfront of Staten Island’s north shore on the Kill Van Kull Watershed—created through a partnership of The Trust for Public Land, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and NYC Parks. Heritage Park, as it is named, was officially unveiled and opened during a press conference held by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on May 29, 2014.

The idea for Heritage Park was born in 2004 when The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, purchased the 9.7 acres of land upon which the former Blissenbach Marina sat from the land owner then donated it to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) to be used as a public park.

Monies contributed by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey came from the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program — the $60 million program was recently reactivated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority also provided the $3.5 million in funding needed for The Trust for Public Land to convert the former brownfield into a 2.46 acre park that would provide public access to the waterfront in a community long cut off from the Kill Van Kull Watershed. Construction of the park began in 2012 and was managed by The Trust for Public Land. The site now boasts a rolling lawn with new trees, a dune buffer, perimeter landscaping, walking paths, benches, a parking lot, and offers dramatic views of the Bayonne Bridge.

“The enormity of the Super Storm Sandy event – and the likelihood of more extreme weather in the future, underscores the need to better integrate land conservation, and habitat restoration and enhancement to better protect our coastal communities,” said Marc Matsil, The Trust for Public Land’s New York State director. “Land conservation in a flood zone coupled with remediation of a brownfield is a relatively low-cost way to prevent the loss of residences and businesses, and to minimize the economic consequences that result from the changing climate and natural world – while protecting water access to the community. Bravo to Governor Cuomo, Port Authority Executive Director Foye, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and Staten Island Parks Borough Commissioner Long for this meaningful partnership.”

Blissenbach Marina had long been a priority for acquisition, as it offered the opportunity to provide public access to the waterfront in a community cut off from the Kill Van Kull. The property is the first link in the planned North Shore Waterfront Greenway, an effort being spearheaded by Staten Island’s Community Board One to provide a continuous greenway along Staten Island’s north shore, studded with a series of waterfront parks. The property was a high priority for local groups including the Protectors of Pine Oak Woods and the North Shore Waterfront Conservancy, and it was an acquisition priority for the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program.

“Heritage Park is a wonderful example of how together, community activism and public-private partnerships can reclaim, restore and create public open space on Staten Island’s North Shore,” said NYC Parks Staten Island Commissioner Adena Long. “Thanks to the determination of the Trust for Public Land and The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, we were able to preserve this culturally and naturally diverse site so that all Staten Islanders could have access to their waterfront.”