West Farms Rapids, a long delayed Greenway Project has finally reached completion. This newly improved park and critical link in the greenway, runs from E 180th Street to E Tremont Avenue along the west bank of the Bronx River. The park, which is adjacent to the Lambert Houses and the Bronx River Arts Center, includes an amphitheater, ample seating, waterfront access, and plenty of beautiful nature.
The project is finally finished but its completion comes after many years of stops and starts and delays. The park first opened in 1980 and in 2008 ground broke on a project to improve it. Unfortunately after over a couple years of slow stalled work, the initial contractor defaulted, sending the project into peril. All work stopped and the construction site sat idle for years as the city pushed through legal processes and restarted the bid process to find and vett a new contractor. Fortunately, in April 2019 work started again with a new contractor and progressed smoothly. In April 2020 they finished their work on time and put an end to this long delayed project.
Schematic plan of the newly completed West Farms Rapids Park
West Farms Rapids park is a site of historical significance for the Bronx and the Bronx River Alliance. The West Farms area was a site of early settlement along the Bronx River. Prior to colonization, indigenous Lenape communities lived here and in many other areas up and down the Bronx River. During colonization, West Farms was a site of significance in the Revolutionary War, and after American Independence the site quickly industrialized with factories popping up alongside the river. Over time these factories, as well as poor land use decisions by city officials, led to the steep decline of the Bronx River.
The industrialization of West Farms along the Bronx River
In 1974 the Bronx River Restoration, the grassroots effort to clean up the river and the predecessor to the Bronx River Alliance, chose West Farms Rapids as the site of one its first restoration efforts. Community members pulled tires out of the Bronx River and used them to stabilize the eroding banks. These tires remain today and serve as a symbol of the long history of the River’s revival.
To read more about the history of West Farms Rapids click here
The newly finished West Farms Rapids Park
While the park’s construction is completed it is not yet open as more time is needed for the newly planted grass to stabilize. We anticipate it opening in the coming weeks and will post on our website as soon as a date is announced.