Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the largest state park in New York City will fully open in Brooklyn in the summer of 2019. The new 407-acre park will be named in honor of Shirley Chisholm, a Brooklyn-born trailblazer who was the first African American Congresswoman, as well as the first woman and African American to run for President. The park is a signature project under the Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative and complements the state's efforts to build 34 new or improved pocket parks, community gardens, playgrounds and recreation centers within a 10-minute walk for every Central Brooklyn resident.
"Our state parks are community treasures, and this new park transforms what was once landfill into exquisite open space, waterfront access and outdoor recreation for Brooklyn," Governor Cuomo said. "Shirley Chisholm led the fight to improve the health and wellness of underserved communities that we carry on today with the Vital Brooklyn initiative, and we are proudly naming this park after her in admiration for the example of leadership and devotion she set for all of us."
"Our work to revitalize Brooklyn continues with a transformational new state park named in honor of one of the greatest women in New York State history," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Throughout my career, I've looked to Shirley Chisholm as a role model and a strong woman who fought for her community. Her inspiration helped guide me toward a life of public service. It is an appropriate recognition to name this park for a Congresswoman and presidential candidate who spent her time in office working to move Brooklyn and our nation forward. This new state park is an important component of our Vital Brooklyn initiative and will enhance recreational opportunities and improve the quality of life for Brooklyn residents."
The new park is part of the Governor's $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative. Last month, Governor Cuomo announced New York State Homes and Community Renewal will finance 1,000 affordable homes for seniors on underutilized land owned by the New York City Housing Authority in Central Brooklyn. In April, Governor Cuomo launched phase two of Vital Brooklyn and announced five RFPs to construct more than 2,000 affordable homes and advance the initiative's $563 million commitment to build 3,000 units of affordable housing in Central Brooklyn. Earlier this summer, Governor Cuomo announced a $3.1 million investment to renovate and transform eight community gardens and deliver a much-needed direct water connection to 14 others, to be completed by fall of 2019. Prior to that, the Governor also announced flagship ambulatory care sites and partnerships with six Brooklyn-based federally qualified health centers to form the foundation of its $210 million, 32-site ambulatory care network.
Earlier last month, as the next step of the comprehensive initiative, Governor Cuomo announced new actions to increase access to nutritious foods and address chronic food insecurity and health disparities in Central Brooklyn communities. The Governor also announced a $1.825 million investment in new mobile markets, food insecurity screening for seniors, youth run farmers' markets, community gardens, and a food distribution hub siting study, to help ensure local communities have the ability to purchase fresh, local foods, and have the support they need for healthier lifestyles.
Phase 1 of the park is funded by a state investment of up to $20 million to open the ecologically restored property and make 3.5 miles of waterfront available to provide crucial new open space access in one of the most underserved areas of the state.
Public meetings will begin in the fall of 2019 for the design of Phase 2; which will be completed in 2020 and 2021. Based on community input, Phase 2 could feature a new amphitheater for live events, environmental education center, lawn patios and a cable ferry or a connector bridge over the water which will link the Pennsylvania and Fountain Properties.
The 407-acre site, which has never been open to the public, includes the former Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill and Fountain Avenue Landfill, which were operated by NYC Department of Sanitation from 1956-1983 and deeded to the National Park Service as part of Gateway National Recreation Area in 1974. In 2002, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection began a $235 million site remediation that included the installation of an impermeable cap and below-ground barrier to support future use.