Updated 01/27/2009 03:30 PM
Officials Say Brooklyn Bridge Park Construction Is On Track
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Come spring of next year, many will enjoy the improvements being made to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Officials say the construction on the first phase, which began last year, is on track.
When it's done, it will give visitors access more than a mile of open space that has been off limits for more than two decades.
The park will include more than three miles of promenades and walkways, more than three acres of playgrounds, more than 2,000 new trees, a new dog run, multi-purpose fields, basketball, tennis, and handball courts, an in-line skating rink, and 12 acres of calm water for canoers and kayakers.
Officials say they are pleased with the progress being made.
"Construction is on track. In this location we will have a beautiful new esplanade along the water, the beginnings of our beautiful Brooklyn green bike path throughout the site," said Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer. "There'll be two wonderful lawns overlooking the fabulous view of the Brooklyn Bridge and also of the Statue of Liberty."
Myer estimates the cost of the entire project at more than $300 million. Of that, about $231 million is currently available.
"Both the city and state are incredibly committed to the project and the funds are all in place for us to build over two-thirds of the park by 2013," she said.
She is confident the money will ultimately be in place to build the entire park, despite the city's current economic struggles.
One planned source of funding is the revenue from residential development at both ends of the site, including an already existing building on the south end, pictured to the right. Opponents contend that there are delays in developing the other buildings planned at the location. The corporation denies those claims, saying they are developing a timeline while park construction proceeds.
"With One Brooklyn Bridge Park up and running, the condominium which is down on Furman Street, we are already receiving the taxes and ground rent to support operations in the early year," said Myer.
While construction moves ahead, there are still some area residents not happy with the project.
"The plan as we see it today represents a failure and a defeat for those of us who have been fighting for a great park for Brooklyn and all of the people of New York for 20 years," said Brooklyn resident Roy Sloan.
Opponents have not only spoken out against residential development at the park. They also do not think the plan offers enough active recreational opportunities.
"What we have are two green lawns at the opening, for the real estate development, you've got this big hill in the middle that can't be used for anything except walking on maybe," said Judi Frances of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund.
Park advocates have called for year-round recreation available, and say revenues to support the park could be gained through concessions, parking fees, and philanthropy, instead of condos.
A public meeting is being held Thursday night to discuss the park and its finances.
For more information on the park, go to BrooklynBridgeParkNYC.org.