Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced plans for a world-class environmental and education center on the banks of the Hudson River at Pier 26 in Manhattan that will promote scientific research and public discovery of the Hudson River estuary and surrounding water systems. The goal of the Pier 26 Estuarium is to become a destination for compelling educational programming combined with on-site research and discovery in a new state-of-the-art facility.
"We are building a first class environmental and education center at New York Citys Pier 26 which will help revitalize the riverfront and create a new attraction for tourists and New Yorkers alike to visit," Governor Cuomo said. "This new center will allow us to expand our research and understanding of the historic Hudson River Estuary which is one of New Yorks greatest resources for supporting environmental awareness and protection.
With the Request for Expressions of Interest, the State will solicit proposals from organizations to establish and operate the estuarine research and education center. HRPT and its partners have secured $10,000,000 in dedicated funds to advance the design and construction of the Estuarium, thanks to a $5 million grant from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, $4.75 million from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for an Environmental Benefit Project, and a $335,000 matching grant for planning and design from the NYS Department of State. The sites footprint allows for a between 10,000 to 12,000 square foot facility, with the possibility of additional shared space for exhibits or informal outdoor programming on a public park pier.
In addition to the estuarium, Pier 26 will feature a non-motorized boathouse in 2014 as well as a new restaurant opening in 2015, further opening connecting communities to their waterfronts.
Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) President & CEO Madelyn Wils said, With millions of visitors to Hudson River Park each year, Pier 26 offers an unprecedented opportunity for the selected operator to showcase their work while also engaging and educating the public on the Hudson Rivers rich ecological diversity and other vital environmental issues including resiliency and climate change. Hudson River Parks environmental educational programs are already prized by thousands of families and students each year. The opportunity to bring a world-class research, education and outreach center to downtown is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Hudson River Park Trust Board Member Joe Martens said, Protecting water quality and habitats in the Hudson River Estuary is an important part of our mission, and the Pier 26 Estuarium will support and advance efforts to ensure a healthy and active estuary. Governor Cuomo is committed to improving our environment and expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, and the scientific and educational programs at the Estuarium will promote a healthy and active estuary that offers an array of outdoor activities.
Commissioner of the New York State Office Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Hudson River Park Trust board member Rose Harvey said, Governor Cuomos vision for a healthy environment, from his attention to stronger shorelines and storm resiliency, to his investment in a state-of-the-art research and education center at one of New York Citys most popular and diverse waterfront attractions, is central to the continued progress of New York State. Hudson River Park is already a treasure to the people of New York, and I look forward to even more visitors enjoying its increased offerings with this new facility.
New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said, "The New York Department of State is proud to be a part of this effort to establish a healthy and vibrant waterfront. This project will play a vital role in educating the public on one of New York State's greatest assets and natural resources, the Hudson River."
Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said, Ensuring the continued health and vitality of the Hudson River estuary and surrounding water systems is critical to the overall health and economy of the Port of New York. With the creation of the new Pier 26 Estuarium, New York State and the region will gain a much needed world-class destination for environmental education and research.
The Hudson River Estuary stretches 153 miles from Troy to New York Harbor, nearly half the river's 315 mile course between Lake Tear of the Clouds, in the Adirondacks and the Battery at the tip of Manhattan.
The HRPT and the DEC collaborated on a management plan for the 400 acres of water in the park, known as the Hudson River Park Estuarine Sanctuary. The plan established goals and procedures to protect and conserve marine resource, promote public access and recreation, and support education and research. The Parks Estuarine Sanctuary provides direct water access and is home to more than 70 fish species, which offers outstanding opportunities for people to enjoy these waters along Manhattans Hudson River waterfront.
Hudson River Park has transformed approximately four miles of decaying piers and parking lots along the west side of Manhattan into a premier New York City destination for local residents and visitors alike, and plays a critical role in protecting the Hudson River ecosystem. The Hudson River Trust is a joint effort between New York State and New York City overseeing the design, construction and operation of the Park. For more information, please visit www.hudsonriverpark.org.