THE BRONX RIVER ALLIANCE, COMMUNITY CELEBRATE MISSING LINK OF BRONX RIVER GREENWAY AND MAJOR PARKS EXPANSION AT OPENING CEREMONY FOR STARLIGHT PARK PHASE II
Bronx, NY – The Bronx River Alliance and Bronx community members joined NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) First Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane to officially open the $41 million in renovations to Starlight Park, representing a major greenspace and greenway expansion in the Bronx that closes a gap in the Bronx River Greenway. The Starlight Park Phase II project has converted 2.7 acres of formerly paved, industrial property into a beautiful greenspace with added greenway connections for New Yorkers to enjoy.
Two new pedestrian bridges, four new community access points, and new waterfront parkland will close the critical gap in the Bronx River Greenway between Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park.
“To arrive at a moment like today requires steadfast dedication and close partnership between community organizations and government. Reconnecting the South Bronx and overcoming historic barriers to create access to the beautiful natural resource that is a healthy Bronx River, has long been envisioned. Today, we celebrate how this project knits communities together, creates incredible new parks, and increases resilience against climate change with a naturalized shoreline; Starlight Park Phase II is the type of holistic development of which we should all be proud.” said Elena Conte, Interim Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance.
“The fully complete Starlight Park creates a 1.3-mile car-free connection from the West Farms neighborhood to Hunts Point with just one total road crossing. Neighborhoods that have been historically separated by the Sheridan are now connected for the first time, and I look forward to meeting neighbors and community members I”ve never met before in our shared open space.” said Edmundo Martinez, Bronx River Greenway Team Chair.
“Representing the culmination of decades of work by community members to clean, reclaim, organize, and create a vision for the area, Starlight Park Phase II completes a critical South Bronx link in the Bronx River Greenway. The opening of this park is an environmental justice victory that will open up access to the river for tens of thousands of our neighbors.” said David Shuffler, Board Member of the Bronx River Alliance and Executive Director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Inc (YMPJ), and lifelong community resident.
About the Bronx River Alliance: The Bronx River Alliance serves as a coordinated voice for the river. We work in harmonious partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it may be a healthy ecological, recreational, educational, and economic resource for the communities through which the river flows.
The Bronx River was once clean enough to be considered for the city’s water supply. However, over the course of a century, it was degraded by residential and industrial pollution to the point of being declared an “open sewer.” Several generations have launched restoration efforts for the river, but until the 1970’s they largely ignored the lower river, particularly in the South Bronx. In 2001, a band of passionate community leaders joined together to realize their vision of a Bronx River that would be a force for environmental reclamation and community development in the heart of the Bronx.
The river is a symbol of the Bronx itself – the restoration of the river coincides with the
health of the borough. We have become a national model for urban open space development by engaging the community in cleaning up the polluted river, restoring wildlife and habitats, creating miles of greenway and parks and drawing thousands of people to paddle the river each year.
(718) 542-4124 ext.120