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New Park 'The Hills' to Open In July As Governors Island CEO Steps Down

"The Hills" will open on Governors Island in July.
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Courtesy of Governors Island

GOVERNORS ISLAND —  More than 10 acres of new parkland, in the shape of four massive waterfront hills, is getting ready for its July opening on Governors Island.

The long-anticipated "Hills," which broke ground in 2013, are slated to open to the public on July 19, The Trust for Governors Island announced Monday.

The grassy hills, made from recycled construction and fill materials, will rise between 25 and 80 feet above sea level, offering sweeping views of the city and New York Harbor — as well as new spots to picnic, ride bikes and swish down several giant slides.

The Hills' launch date came with news that The Trust for Governors Island's longtime president and chief executive Leslie Koch, largely credited for spearheading the sweeping changes that have come to the island, will step down right after the new parkland opens.

Koch, president of the trust for 10 years, has worked to transform the former military base into a summertime oasis, with new parkland, and dozens of often quirky cultural activities and exhibitions, while moving towards the goal of turning the island into a year-round destination.

During her tenure, Governors Island opened seven days a week during its public May through September season — it was once only open on weekends. It also overhauled 30 acres of new public parkland,  finally has potable water, and has a day spa, complete with an outdoor pool, in the making.

More change is on the way, as the mayor announced in February that the city will develop 33 acres on the south side of the island into an "Innovation Cluster" — an overhaul that will cater to educational institutions and startups to "help position New York City as the worldwide leader in technology and innovation," the mayor's office said. 

"The Island is ready for its next chapter, and so am I," Koch told The New York Times. "I just can't wait to have the summer off for the first time in 10 years."