Sunset Park waterfront development on target, councilwoman says

October 10, 2012 Brooklyn Daily Eagle By Paula Katinas
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A new waterfront park under construction in the Sunset Park community is coming along beautifully, according to Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, who recently led a tour of the recreation area that is taking shape.
The park, located along the Sunset Park waterfront between 43rd and 51st Streets, has been a dream of neighborhood residents for many years, Gonzalez said.

The waterfront park project was the recipient of the largest State Bond Act grant for Brownfield remediation in New York State history. The city, state, and federal governments are spending a total of $36 million to clean environmental toxins out of the waterfront area.

The councilwoman was accompanied on the tour by Brooklyn Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey of the Department of Parks and Recreation; Hunter Goldman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation; Community Board Seven District Manager Jeremy Laufer and Board Seven Parks Committee Chairwoman Joan Botti; among others.

Construction of the comfort station is underway and the construction of the storm drainage systems is near completion.

The design for the recreation area includes the construction of two baseball and soccer fields, viewing areas for restored and remediated tidal pools, a naturalized preserve area, and future space for a mini-golf and batting cage concession.

Gonzalez, who allocated $2 million in City Council capital funds toward the 22-acre project, said she would like to see more city funding committed to the park for the completion of Pier 5 and the reconstruction of Marginal Street to allow for better access and connection with the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. Under the greenway initiative, started by the Bloomberg Administration, the city’s neighborhoods will be connected by bicycle paths.

During the tour, Gonzalez pointed out the unobstructed views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and Lower Manhattan. She also noted that wildlife has already begun returning to the tidal ponds.

 “Throughout my time in public office I have dedicated considerable time, effort and funding to improve or create open spaces throughout my district. The vision here and elsewhere is to ensure residents and visitors can enjoy an array of programs spanning active and passive recreation, environmental education, urban reforestation, wetland restoration, and more,” Gonzalez said.

The new park will also contain works of art, she said. “I have invited local art groups and artists to attend this tour and support their interest in seeing public art integrated into the site,” she said.

In keeping with the city’s policy to encourage sustainable practices, several environmentally-conscious design elements are being considered, including on-site storm water retention, wind turbines, solar power, the reuse of existing on and off-site materials such as granite blocks from the existing street, and the use of shipping containers as building materials.

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