Earlier this week, NYC Parks & Recreation Department submitted an application for federal TIGER funding to build Phase 2 of Starlight Park. TIGER, which stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, is a competitive funding opportunity of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Municipalities throughout the nation will be awarded TIGER transportation project funding totaling $487M. That may sound like a lot of money to average Bronx residents, but the grants are very competitive as that funding is spread nationwide. NYC Parks is requesting $25.7M TIGER funding to combine with $10M in local funding to build out the $35.7M project.
The Bronx River Alliance worked closely with NYC Parks to prepare the TIGER application. Phase 2 of Starlight Park will close the Bronx River Greenway gap between Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park. This gap closure project is critical to ensure that residents of the South Bronx will have access to a contiguous Bronx River Greenway bike/ped trail that will extend the entire 23 miles from Soundview to Kensico Dam. The Starlight Phase 2 project includes nearly a mile of new bike/walk path, with three bridges – two over the river (similar to the existing bridge shown being installed – right) and one over Amtrak rail lines. The trail link has seen an ourpouring of community support via the Alliance’s Bridge the Gap campaign.
The Alliance is very grateful to the entire team involved in applying for TIGER funding. The Greenway gap closure project is a collaboration between NYC Parks, and the City and State Transportation Departments – with assistance from many others, prominently including the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, under the leadership of the Department of the Interior. Amtrak has been proactive in resolving issues in bridging over their rights-of-way. Thanks to many elected officials for making this critical gap closure a priority, especially U.S. Congressman Jose Serrano, Assemblymember Marcos Crespo, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Councilmember Annabel Palma for letters of support. Thanks also to East Coast Greenway Alliance and Signature Urban Properties for support letters. Thanks also to all the organizations and individuals who expressed their support via the Bridge the Gap campaign.
The TIGER opportunity is very competitive; there’s no guarantee that the application will receive funding. Based on past TIGER rounds, the awards should be announced around August/September 2013. If funded, construction could begin late next year – and South Bronx residents could enjoy the completed greenway trail segment around 2016.