Standing near an overgrown, polluted section of Floyd Bennett Field that is marked with a “Danger” sign to warn passersby, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn and Queens) along with Gateway National Recreation Area Supervisor Barry Sullivan and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, announced $2.4 million in funding to help clean 2 acres of land in Gateway National Park that is contaminated with fuel from over 40 years ago. The funding will help begin the process of transforming the area so that it will be safe for recreational use.
Floyd Bennett Field, which is a part of Gateway National Recreation area, is one of New York City’s hidden treasures. Located on the southeastern edge of Brooklyn, it is home to campgrounds, walking paths, fire pits, softball fields and even an archery pit for New Yorkers looking for a break from the bustle of the Big Apple. Floyd Bennett Field also serves as a training facility for the NYPD and, and it was previously used as a naval airfield and as New York City’s first commercial airport.
An examination conducted by the National Parks Service shows that the fuel contamination, which accumulated due to decades of use by planes and helicopters, has left unhealthy amounts of benzene, naphthalene and other harmful poisons and carcinogens in the soil. The funding pays for a cleanup of the soil in order to make the land safe for public use, as well as an investigation to determine the extent of the contamination. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will oversee the cleanup.
"We are very pleased that this issue is moving forward and we thank Congressman Weiner for his efforts in making significant progress towards containment and any necessary remediation in the area,” said Barry Sullivan, Superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area.
“This important cleanup is long overdue,” Congressman Weiner said. “This will be good for the park, good for the community and good for the environment. This is another chapter in our efforts to make this park better”