New Plan Unveiled for Inwood's Harlem River Shoreline

By Carla Zanoni on February 7, 2011 7:00am 

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

INWOOD — Nearly one year after resurrecting talks about the fate of Inwood’s Harlem River shoreline, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) unveiled its draft of a plan for Sherman Creek to community residents at a community board meeting last week.

The Sherman Creek Waterfront Esplanade Master Plan, which sketches the NYCEDC’s "preferred design direction" for Sherman Creek from Dyckman to 207th streets, includes a waterfront esplanade, water access points, play space and a nature preserve, according to a presentation by the NYCEDC to Community Board 12 on Feb. 1.

The design incorporates suggestions made by community members during a study of the area performed in 2004 as well as a volunteer community advisory committee’s work with landscape and urban planning consultants over the past year.

Although many residents said they were excited by the possibility of a continued overhaul of the shoreline, questions about funding sources and unresolved issues between the city and the area’s largest real estate holder, Con Edison, could mean a redevelopment of this scale may still be years away.

"We’ve been hearing about this for years, but the reality is who knows when the city will be able to pay for something like this," said Connie Peralta, 47, who has lived in Inwood since the mid-1990s.

Despite the question of the feasability of future plans, some changes have already been implemented by the NYEDC and Parks department since the initial study of Sherman Creek.

The Sherman Creek Inlet was cleaned up by both groups in a joint effort with the New York Restoration Project, an environmental parks group, as well as the creation of a nearby pedestrian trail next to local elementary school P.S. 5.

Five "pocket parks" on West 202nd, 203rd, 204th, 205th, and 206th streets along the Harlem River were also added in 2008.

Despite these steps, the NYCEDC describes the Sherman Creek project as still in its infancy and said it plans to hold another community meeting in March in order to keep a dialogue going before a final plan is released.

Those interested can view the new design online and e-mail the NYCEDC with suggestions.