As major development sweeps through the North Shore, a group of local residents is proposing some projects of their own. As Ny1's Aaron Dickens found out, they're hoping to preserve open space in the area.
While construction of the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets is moving right along in St. George, much of the waterfront property around it remains stagnant. A mish-mosh of old docks and empty lots can be seen from the Staten Island Ferry terminal to Stapleton.
"Staten Island's waterfront, especially it's North Shore waterfront already has all the elements of what a maritime education recreation corridor could bring," said Kelly Vilar, founder of the Let's Rebuild Cromwell Community Coalition.
Vilar founded the coalition 2 years ago. It now has more than 100 members. Their mission is to create a recreational corridor along the waterfront. Vilar hosted a tour of the area Wednesday with community groups, elected officials and non-profit heads.
"We are putting out as readily as we can as community advocates and organizers what we want to see in our community," she added.
The group says its first priority is to have the Cromwell Recreation Center rebuilt. It was demolished in 2013 after Hurricane Sandy left it damaged. The Parks Department has been studying just where to put a new center.
"Right now we are waiting for the results of the study then I have to start fighting for the money to get Cromwell built. That is something that I promised," said City Councilwoman Debi Rose.
The group is also calling for a walking path, sports fields and a new middle school along the shoreline. It would focus on maritime education.
"Here there is a real community around the waterfront and around all things maritime so we are really excited to be working with the folks here," said Ann Fraiolo of the Harbor Foundation.
Much of the waterfront here along the corridor is either owned by the city or private developers. That's why Vilar says networking with as many people as possible involved in the resurgence down here is key
"If we want something that bad it can happen," added Vilar.