By Nicole Breskin
MEATPACKING DISTRICT — The city wants to build a recycling plant on an open stretch of Hudson River Park that some local residents were hoping to see used as a recreational space.
The Department of Sanitation this week issued a request for a designer for a estimated $10.5 million "recyclables transfer facility and environmental center" that would be developed at the Gansevoort Peninsula, located on the Hudson River between Gansevoort and Little West 12th streets. The facility is a link in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Solid Waste Management Plan, which aims to make each borough responsible for its own trash.
“The area is the widest open section of Hudson River Park that is not built on a pier,” said A.J. Pietrantone, executive director of Friends of Hudson River Park, a park advocacy group. “It deserves full access for the public. It’s a waste of public resources to have it blocked out by the Sanitation Department.”
Pietrantone also said the facility could harm air quality in the area and contribute to increased traffic.
The city released the request March 8. Responses are due June 4.
The idea for the recycling station has been around for years. In 2007, Friends of Hudson River Park made an alternative proposal to move the transfer station to Pier 76, opposite the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at W. 36th Street. The group said, however, that Sanitation found their plan too expensive.
The state Assembly and Senate approved plans for a waste transfer station in the summer of 2008, even though local politicians voted and spoke out against it, including Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and state Sen. Tom Duane.
Friends of Hudson River Park said the city is moving ahead with the request without any word as to whether an environmental impact study would be conducted, or without a Memorandum of Understanding between state and city officials that would govern how the project would be built and paid for.
Kathy Dawkins, a spokesperson for the Department of Sanitation, said the city would seek a Memorandum of Understanding when it came time to solicit construction bids. Right now, though, Sanitation is only seeking architecture and design proposals, Dawkins said.