As we reported earlier today, the federal government is awarding New York City $176 million to create a flood barrier and new recreational amenities from Montgomery Street to Battery Park. This afternoon, we have some news about another waterfront project — a Pier 42 park.
Until recently, plans were underway to begin the first phase of construction this coming spring. Four years ago, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) allocated $16 million to begin transforming the site just to the north of Montgomery Street.
A spokesperson for the NYC Parks Department tells The Lo-Down that “design and planning issues,” especially the environmental review of the site, have delayed the project. The city’s new estimated start date is January of 2017.
The first phase of construction involves creating an interim park. The plan is to tear down most of a large storage shed, remove asphalt, plant grass and trees and establish a 7-foot-high knoll. The overall project, expected to cost at least $94 million, remains unfunded. Last year, the LMDC suggested it would allocate another $7 million to Pier 42, but the board has not yet voted on the proposal.
This past summer, several local non-profit organizations wrapped up a three-year initiative called Paths to Pier 42 in anticipation of the start of construction. Paths to Pier 42 was initiated by the Hester Street Collaborative, GOLES, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and CAAAV. They transformed a section of the pier into a recreational space and sponsored all sorts of arts projects, performances and community events there. The idea was to reclaim the derelict public space for the neighborhood and to keep attention focused on the park planning process.
But given the new delay, the Parks Department is asking the groups to brings Paths to Pier 42 back to life for another season. A few weeks ago, we met with Dylan House and Anna Pelavan of Hester Street Collaborative to talk about the road ahead for Pier 42.
The programming they helped develop was designed to give voice to the people who live along the waterfront, a predominantly low-income community. During a three-year period, the partners utilized about $500,000 in funding to support 15 artist/design teams and to run Paths to Pier 42’s engagement programs. They’re now looking at how the space can be activated once again this spring and summer. While it will be tricky in the absence of any additional funding, they’re optimistic about finding creative ways to keep the pier lively throughout the spring and summer months.
The LMDC funding was secured with the help of U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and State Sen Daniel Squadron. At various times during the last several years, they have urged the city to move forward with a fully funded Pier 42 project as quickly as possible.