A vacant Jamaica Bay property originally tabbed for private developments is slated to be transformed into the borough's newest waterfront park.
The 1.2-acre site along Beach 88 St. near the Cross Bay Bridge, will offer a range of activities to the public such as picnicking, fishing and boating.
The property was snapped up by the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit group that specializes in land conservation, for $1.925 million, more than $1 million less than its market price, according to the owners.
"We basically purchased and donated the property within five minutes," says Matt Shaffer, assistant director of marketing services for the nonprofit group. Funding by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey allowed the Trust to give the property to the city for the park's construction set to begin in Spring 2010.
"(The Trust for Public Land) is proud to continue supporting both the needs of New York neighborhoods in gaining new, much-needed park space, and our city harbor and estuaries in maintaining sound ecological balance. This does both," said Leslie Wright, the state director of the Trust.
"We had no debt on the property, and we could have held on to it pretty easily, so we said we might as well cut bait and move on," he said. "Moving this project to the Trust for Public Land was a very good thing to do.
The addition of the waterside park would bring much-needed parkland and open space to the Jamaica Bay area, which some environmental activists say is being overdeveloped.
"The more public access we have in the area, the better. We have too much development in the area," says Daniel Mundy Jr. of the Jamaica Bay Eco-watchers.
Don Riepe, director of the Northeast chapter of the American Littoral Society noted that "Any park of any size is welcome... every piece of open land has been developed in the Rockaways in the past10 years."