By Julie Shapiro
GOVERNORS ISLAND — A hammock-hemmed forest and two new sports fields are on the way to Governors Island by 2013, thanks to a new $150 million allocation by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, three sources told DNAinfo Friday.
The money in the city's capital budget will open up a new 23-acre section of Governors Island that was previously closed to the public, the sources said. Construction will start as soon as this year.
"This is terrific news, not only for lower Manhattan but for the city as a whole," said Julie Menin, a board member of the Trust for Governors Island. "[The new park] will come online significantly earlier than expected."
Menin and two other sources said they heard the news this week from the Trust for Governors Island.
A spokeswoman for the Trust and a spokesman for Bloomberg did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The funding for Governors Island comes from the city's capital budget and is separate from the austere operating budget Bloomberg announced this week, which will eliminate more than 6,000 teaching jobs, cut daycare services and close 20 fire companies.
The city took over Governors Island from the state last year and promised to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to its redevelopment.
The city previously announced a $30 million overhaul of the historic section on the island's north side, which is already open to the public.
But this newly allocated $150 million will open up 23 acres in the middle of the island, called the Liggett Hall area, which has never been publicly accessible. The space currently contains rundown Coast Guard buildings and largely unused fields.
The plan, by the West 8 design team, will convert the space into a Hammock Grove of shady, winding paths and will add much-needed sports fields for local leagues.
Other parts of the island's future park, including paths that roam over hills and a grand promenade, still need more funding in the future.
"We're excited," said Jake Itzkowitz, chief of staff to Councilwoman Margaret Chin. "We want to see as much done with Governors Island as possible."