Largest state park in New York City slated for Brooklyn

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Lauren Glassberg reports on the announcement of a new 407-acre park opening in Brooklyn in the summer of 2019.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that 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 and the first woman and African-American to run for President.

The park is a signature project of the 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.

The first phase of the park, which will be complete next summer, will feature 10 miles of trails for hiking and biking, including bike connector paths that will ultimately join the Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenue properties, waterfront access for kayaking, pop-up environmental education, a pier with a shade structure, picnic areas, concessions, comfort facilities, welcome and wayfinding signage and a park office.

"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," Cuomo said. "Shirley Chisholm led the fight to improve the health and wellness of under-served 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."

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, while public meetings will begin in the fall of 2019 for the design of Phase 2. Expected to be completed in 2020 and 2021, 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 to 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 New York City Department of Sanitation from 1956 to 1983 and deeded to the National Park Service as part of Gateway National Recreation Area in 1974.

In 2002, the 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.

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