Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Waterfront Park Sated for Jamaica Bay - Queens Chronicle

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A vacant Jamaica Bay waterfront property along Beach 88th Street in Rockaway will become a new park, according to the Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization that negotiated a conservation solution for the waterfront land last year.

Slated for 20 single-family homes on a little more than one acre, a new park will 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 to be developed as a new park.

“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 and 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.

TLP, in partnership with Port Authority, has a long history of supporting conservation along the rivers and estuaries of New York City. Similar recent additions to the city’s network of open space include North Mount Loretto State Forest, North Shore Waterfront Park, an addition to Crescent Beach Park, South Beach Wetlands and Idlewood 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 the Bronx, and East River State Park in Brooklyn.