Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today officially opened a new three acre waterfront park located along the Kill Van Kull on the North Shore of Staten Island. Heritage Park, located at the former Blissenbach Marina site offers dramatic views of the iconic Bayonne Bridge and Staten Islands working waterfront. It is also recognized by the Trust for Public Land as the first post-Hurricane Sandy resilient waterfront park and was designed to ensure minimal flooding in the event of future storms.
The Park includes resiliency measures to protect against future storms including extra permeable soil that will absorb significant amounts of water without the need for drains and acts as a buffer protecting the inland businesses and homes on the north shore of Staten Island in the event of a coastal storm.
Heritage Park is a tremendous asset for residents on Staten Island to enjoy the communitys tremendous shoreline and recreational opportunities, Governor Cuomo said. Preserving this open waterfront space creates a coastal storm buffer while also offering the community access to vibrant and open parkland. I am pleased to see this park open to visitors and I look forward to seeing more resilient waterfront space bordering our communities in the future.
The new Heritage Park is testament to both recreation and resiliency, said Mayor Bill de Blasio. Not only will this new waterfront site provide Staten Island with stunning new parkland for families and the community to enjoy, its innovative features will help Staten Island and all of New York City be better prepared to buttress the fury of another storm and reduce flooding. The Staten Island leaders who worked so hard to achieve this vision, and Governor Cuomo and the state leaders who have made this day possible, should be proud. The New York City Parks Department is excited to add this newest jewel to its crown of amazing public spaces.
Governor Cuomo has directed the Port Authority to reevaluate the port district and make our waterfront more storm resistant, said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. Under his leadership we are proud to open New Yorks first hurricane resilient park through the Port Authoritys Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program, a successful program designed to acquire and preserve open space for conservation, public access, and resiliency.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey authorized approximately $6.5 million over the past ten years through its Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program (HRERP) to purchase the land and pay for the remediation and development of the site into much needed parkland in Staten Islands North Shore. The project serves as a model for converting former industrial sites into usable open space for Staten Island and residents across New York City.
The three acre Heritage Park contains a meadow, fully integrated activity lawn, a pervious pathway circulating throughout the site and ample bike and vehicle parking. The park also addresses community concerns over the loss of public access to the waterfront and the lack of natural resource areas.
The park will be operated by the New York City Parks Department and open daily between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Governor Cuomo previously announced in February that the Port Authority ten-year capital plan includes additional funding for the HRERP, which has successfully protected the economic and ecological interests of several neighborhoods and communities along the waterfront. Program funds have been used to preserve wetland habitat, provide waterfront access to underserved communities, and create storm buffers throughout the estuary. Each of the properties acquired under the program in the past were vetted and endorsed by multiple federal, state and municipal agencies and nonprofit environmental organizations and many are located in hurricane coastal hazard flood zones.
The majority of the acquisitions through the program have been located on Staten Island. Of the nine sites acquired in New York State with funding through the HRERP, six are on Staten Island (North Shore Marina, Wiman Avenue, Quintard Street, Butler Manor, North Mount Loretto Woods, and William H. Pouch Scout Camp). Through the HRERP, the Port Authority has provided more than $24 million for these Staten Island locations, representing 82 percent of the funds allocated for New York State sites.
Senator Diane Savino said, "Turning the Blissenbach Marina into Heritage Park has been a goal of mine during my tenure in office along with my colleagues Matthew Titone and Debi Rose; I applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for designating New York State's first waterfront resilient park, today he has helped us add resiliency to the recreational and open space needs of the North Shore which were decimated by Sandy.
Assemblyman Matthew Titone said Heritage Park is a triple win more park space, opening the waterfront, and providing storm resiliency. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his continued attention to Staten Islands needs in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Though we still have much to do, the Governor has been unwavering in his efforts to help Staten Island get back on its feet.
Borough President James Oddo said, I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and the Port Authority for giving us another beautiful and resilient waterfront park, one that will improve access to the underutilized North Shore waterfront. Heritage Park will give Staten Islanders new recreational options and new opportunities to enjoy majestic waterfront views. This is an important step forward in the ongoing North Shore waterfront renaissance.
Councilwoman Debi Rose said, Our waterfronts are not only economic engines, but treasures to be enjoyed by residents and Heritage Park brings these two elements of the waterfront together. The three acres of open space offer cycling and walking paths, as well as striking views of our working harbor and the Bayonne Bridge. The resilient design of Heritage Park ensures that this space will be enjoyed not only by us, but by our children and grandchildren as well. This is a special place for me. My parents grew up just blocks from here and, like other children from West Brighton, I played in this area when I was a child. I thank the Port Authority for recognizing the potential of this space and for helping make Heritage Park a reality.
Leticia Remauro, Chairman of Community Board 1 Staten Island, said, "I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for making Heritage Park a priority and for coming here today to officially open it. The creation of Heritage Park goes back many years. It began when Community Board 1 member, Linda Eskanas led the charge to have the land purchased by the NYC Parks Department. Thanks to the support of Councilwoman Debi Rose, NYC Parks Borough Commissioner, Adena Long, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Trust for Public Land and so many others, we are now able to call this park a reality. Thank you to Borough President, James Oddo, Senator Diane Savino and Assemblymember Matt Titone, who along with the rest of our Staten Island delegation, continue to work tirelessly alongside Governor Cuomo to help the people of Staten Island recover from the damages we sustained from Super Storm Sandy. May the opening of this park be one of many reasons for us to celebrate in the years to come."
Marc Matsil, NYS Director of the Trust for Public Land, said, The enormity of recent storm events and the likelihood of more extreme weather in the future underscore the need to better integrate land conservation, restoration and enhancements to better protect our coastal communities-with public access. Governor Cuomo and the Port Authority of NY and NJ certainly understand this. The conservation and development of Staten Island's North Shore Heritage Park a collaboration of the Port Authority, The Trust for Public Land and the City and State of New York, is the first new post-Sandy waterfront resilient park to be constructed. It is an extraordinary example of New York States desire to strike a balance. This has been a win-win for public access to the waterfront, park development and remediation of a former brownfield and better protects the neighborhood from future storms. Bravo Governor Cuomo, Executive Director Foye and The Port Authority of NY and NJ.