Last year, after working with community residents, including local children, leaders and stakeholders, New York Restoration Project (founded by the amazing Bette Midler) released the collaborative vision of one of the most derelict waterfronts in our borough, The Haven Project.
Now thanks to the leadership of New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the project can begin work on the first phase renovating the 132nd Street Pier as $2 million in Council funds have been allocated.
It’s important to know that this vision has been lead and pushed for by the community to benefit the almost 100,000 residents living in the area that will be positively impacted by this project.
The visioning sessions were filled with local residents excited to be able to put forth their ideas of what they wanted to see happen along our neglected shorelines.
With this funding, the 132nd Street Pier can be stabilized after being heavily damaged in a Con Ed explosion in 1989 and further destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Once this phase is completed, it will include a park and the first area south of 149th Street along the waterfront to be restored and estimated cost is $5 to $10 million.
As part of the larger Haven Project, eventually the gantries at 134th Street will be part of another connecting park all leading to the Randall’s Island Connector opened last fall.
NYRP plans to also plant over 800 trees in the immediate area to help combat asthma inducing pollution.
Councilman Rafael Salamanca said that even though he hopes for New Yorkers come and visit once completed that first and foremost this project is for the residents of The South Bronx.
“The South Bronx is a community committed to turning the tide of socioecomomic inequality and disinvestment, and investing in vibrant open space is a critical part of that goal. The rehabilitation of Pier 132 will improve quality of life for residents, offer innumerable health and wellness benefits, and provide much-needed relief in an urban neighborhood. Residents, stakeholders, neighborhood-based organizations and activists came together through the Haven Project to address community priorities and needs in a collaborative, grassroots process and I look forward to working with the New York Restoration Project to realize and build on these goals.
“I am proud to have advocated for $2 million in funding to open the first public waterfront in the Bronx. The East 132nd Street Pier will be transformed into a beautiful community space aimed at improving the quality of life of resident of the South Bronx and all its visitors. I congratulate Speaker Melissa Mark-Viveriti and Council Member Salamanca Jr. for this victory for their community,” said Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland in a press release issued today.
NYRP executive director, Deborah Marton said, “NYRP is so grateful to Speaker Mark-Viverito. From our first conversations with the South Bronx community in 2014, we knew the Haven Project would be transformational, and these ambitions are now much closer to becoming a reality thanks to her support”.
“Most importantly, we want to make sure that the residents of the South Bronx get to stay in the South Bronx.”she added hinting to concerns of gentrification looming over the area.
Marton also added that the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr committed $750,000 to the project.
Besides adding much needed recreation space, the revitalization will include necessary waterfront resiliency to protect the surrounding neighborhood and industries.