Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pennsylvania Avenue/Fountain Avenue Restoration Annual Tour – July 20, 2010

This year's tour was entitled “Rolling Hills Tour 2010” and it provided sweeping vistas and panoramic views of Jamaica Bay from the soon to be parks which have been remediated from the former landfill sites.

In my estimation when completed these parks will provide the communities and people of New York City with beautiful new natural areas for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Click here for full screen slide-show and view photo captions...

The tour participants met at the Brooklyn Sports Club and attended a pre-tour power-point presentations of the history and present state of the cleanup and restoration by the Citizens Advisory Committee and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

After the presentation, the participants broke up into groups and boarded vans for the trip to the facilities at the parks on Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue.

Penn Park is scheduled to open for public use by 2012 and Fountain Park will follow in 2014.

The parks are the highest spots on Jamaica Bay within New York City, with the Penn Park elevation at 87 feet above sea level and Fountain Park reaching a height of 128 feet above sea level. The parks encompass a total area of 440 acres.

There have been over 40,000 plants, shrubs and grasses planted at the site by DEP, including eight varieties of trees which had been extinct to the area by the mid 19th century. The plant species have been specially selected to be indigenous to the area's climate and seasonal conditions.

During the restoration process DEP has trucked in over 4 million cubic yards of gravel, grading material, sub-soil and top soil. The top-soil is a special mixture of sandy loam produced in the site to complete pre-planting. There are over 25 miles of roadways and trails throughout the sites.

The parks will have many public amenities including an amphitheater at the Fountain Park site for community events such as concerts, a bay fishing pier, a boat launch for non-motorized boating (kayaks, canoes, etc.), sail boating classes, rest areas for open air observatories, gazebos for shade and bicycles paths extended into the parks from the present bike paths along the Belt Parkway .

There will be areas set aside for overnight camping for nature study.

Parking lots will be able to accommodate between 350-500 vehicles. There will be refreshment courts and ample restrooms throughout the parks. Both parks will be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Media attending the tour included Agnes Green of the Spring Creek Sun, WNYC Radio reporter Matthew Schuerman,  Channel 12 News and a photographer from the Wall Street Journal.

The major contributors to the tour were the Brooklyn Sports Club and Tacfield Associates, LLC.