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Final Proposal Unveiled for Sherman Creek Waterfront

By Carla Zanoni | July 14, 2011 8:08pm

INWOOD — A final proposal for the renovation of Sherman Creek was unveiled at a community forum steps away from the underused and blighted inlet Wednesday night.

The ambitious $83 million plan created by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) over the past two years would seek to reinvent the stretch of the Harlem River between Dyckman and 208th Street.

The plan looks to create four connected areas, including a boardwalk, pebble beach, a walkway over the river and a cove for public waterside use.

"Having worked together with the local community on this plan for the past two years, we're excited to release the completed Sherman Creek Waterfront Esplanade Master Plan," said NYCEDC spokesman Kyle Sklerov, adding that the plan complements the city's WAVES 2020 plan, which aims to increase waterfront access through the five boroughs. 

Although the city has already created several “pocket parks” along the waterfront, members of the community have clamored for more waterfront public use and recreation space in the heavily-industrial area.

“Our entire community is excited to see more green space, especially when it takes advantage of our little used waterfront,” said City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

If the project ultimately receives funding from the city, the renovation would transform one of the last industrial stretches of Manhattan’s shoreline.

But for the approximately 70 people who said they were impressed with the plan and renderings during the Wednesday presentation, many were skeptical that the plan would become a reality.

“Nobody has any money,” said Ralph Moreno, an Inwood resident of 42 years. “I really like the plan and the idea of changing his part of the neighborhood for the better, but I think any significant change is still years and years away.”

Kerry Morgan of Washington Heights agreed.

“This is a largely industrial area with a lot of powerful groups who stand to lose out,” she said, referring to land owners like Con Edison and the MTA who operate close to the waterfront.

Obed Fulcar, director of environmental education for the volunteer group Friends of Sherman Creek, echoed the sentiment, asking for the utility and authority to become engaged in talks with the community about the potential transformation of the waterfront.

“They have a corporate responsibility to this community to allow access to the public,” he said.

Representatives from the NYCEDC said they have been in talks with ConEd and the MTA since the plan was first broached, but no decisions have yet been made.

Local politicians, who stressed that the work to get the project off the ground is just beginning, agreed talks with key stakeholders would need to be further broached as would discussions about funding.

“This is just the beginning of rescuing this entire community,” said Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. “This needs to be a project that reflects the needs of Inwood, which has been neglected for so many years.”

And for that, they now look to the city for support.

“Unfortunately, as beautiful as these plans are, this project still needs funding to see completion,” Rodriguez said. “Since the Mayor spent so much energy promoting his Vision 2020 plan for the city's waterfront, I hope he will spend an equal amount of money putting this plan into action.”