Years after the city closed the Fresh Kills Landfill, it's starting to look like the park it will eventually become. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
A group of bicyclists riding down Richmond Avenue is not something you often see in one of Staten Island's busiest traffic corridors.
City officials are hoping to make it a more common sight, though.
Monday, they broke ground on a new 3.3 mile greenway along the perimeter of the former Fresh Kills landfill.
"We want to get people in motion in this borough in any way we can," says Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.
The city matched an eight million dollar federal grant to pay for the greenway.
It runs parallel to Richmond Avenue, just across the street from the Staten Island Mall.
It will give runners, walkers and bikers a safe way to connect to the north and south shores.
"If you're going to compete with a car, you have to have some of the, some infrastructure to make that possible. And so this is certainly a part of that infrastructure, and it's a wonderful start," says Robert DeBiase of Transportation Alternatives.
Transforming the old dump into a park three times the size of Central Park has been a slow and arduous process.
Inside, work continues on wetland restoration and readying the space for public use.
A 21-acre parcel is set to be built out in the next two years, but until then, Fresh Kills Park administrator Eloise Hirsh says it's important to highlight the progress that's been made:
"Not only is it going to be a great amenity for people who love bikes and people who actually want to walk and move around, but it also is such a great statement about what's happening on the other side," Hirsch says.
When it's complete, the greenway will eventually connect to an existing bike path and a park in the area, giving residents nearly five miles of uninterrupted recreation space.
"It's a really great connection as far as being able to provide a connection throughout the community to both residential and commercial park spaces," says park landscaper Andrew Deer.
The full greenway is expected to be built by next spring, though some portions could open sooner.