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City Yet to Schedule Opening Date for Bush Terminal Piers Park

By Nikhita Venugopal | October 15, 2014 8:52am
 Bush Terminal Piers Park is located between 43rd and 51st Streets on the Sunset Park waterfront.
Bush Terminal Piers Park is located between 43rd and 51st Streets on the Sunset Park waterfront.
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Economic Development Corporation

SUNSET PARK — Sunset Park will have to wait a while longer for Bush Terminal Piers Park. 

The city’s Economic Development Corporation has yet to schedule an opening date for the waterfront park despite completing its construction in August.

But before the park can officially open to the public, it requires approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation because of the waterfront land’s status as a former brownfield, officials said.

“While the timeline for this State approval process remains out of the City’s control, we will continue to explore all available options to open the park quickly and safely,” read an Oct. 7 post on the EDC’s website.

Sources say the state is expected to give its stamp of approval within the next two months.

This week, the city is expected to file an executed environmental easement on the waterfront property and a certified site management plan, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

A draft engineering report, which details the brownfield remediation work on the park property, must also be submitted by the city and will be reviewed by state officials, including the state Department of Health.

After receiving final approval from both state agencies, the city will get a Certificate of Completion and can finally schedule the park’s opening.

Conversations surrounding the waterfront park’s rehabilitation have continued for more than a decade. In July, the city announced it was finally close to completing construction on the park, located between 43rd and 51st streets.

The city agency is doing "everything in our power to expedite" the state DEC’s review and approval of the park, EDC spokeswoman Kate Blumm said in a statement. “We very much look forward to welcoming the Sunset Park community to their new park in the near future.”

But some residents and elected officials were frustrated over what seemed like another delay that prevented public access to the park.

While the EDC had not previously announced a September opening date for Bush Terminal Piers Park, City Councilman Carlos Menchaca said the community had anticipated a fall opening.

Menchaca noted that he was “extremely disappointed to learn that the timeline for opening Bush Terminal Piers Park is yet again in question,” he said in a statement last week.

“The expectation set by EDC was that close coordination with DEC would allow for a smooth approvals process, and that the park was expected to open soon after construction was completed, in early fall,” he said.

Residents have long sought more green space in the neighborhood and have eagerly awaited Bush Terminal Piers Park's opening. The city had previously announced the park would open in October 2013, but delayed that plan.

“Our waterfront has been hurt by so much speculation,” said Tony Giordano, a Sunset Park resident and community activist.

“We are so desperate for open space,” added Giordano, who urged businesses based on the waterfront to offer public access for locals.

Maureen O’Boyle, who is a neighborhood activist, also thought the park was opening in September but said she would rather have a “100 percent safe” and finished park for the community — no matter the number of delays.

“Do I wish we had access to it in the summer? Of course,” she said. “I just hope it’s a wonderful grand opening.”