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Mill Pond Park Extension

Information about this lot

Address: 65 EAST 149 STREET, Bronx, 10451
Area: 4.40 acres (191500 square feet)
Block and Lot: Bronx, block 2356, lot 2
More information about this lot at OASIS

Political Boundaries

City Council District 8 represented by Diana Ayala
Community District Bronx 4 ( bx04@cb.nyc.gov / 718-299-0800 ), district manager: Paul A. Philps
Find all elected officials for this lot at Who Represents Me? NYC

Government Agency

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (public)
Contact: Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner

Parks are protected in New York State for the use of people as open space. A City in the State cannot decide to simply close down a park and use the land for something else without getting approval from the state government after land has been dedicated as parkland.

In order to convey parkland to a nonpublic entity, or to use parkland for another purpose, a municipality must receive prior authorization from the State in the form of legislation enacted by the New York State Legislature and approved by the Governor. “Once land has been dedicated to use as a park, it cannot be diverted for uses other than recreation, in whole or in part, temporarily or permanently, even for another public purpose, without legislative approval.” United States v. City of New York, 96 F.Supp.2d 195, 202 (E.D.N.Y. 2000). This clear law has been applied consistently since 1871.

The question is: what is parkland?

The term “dedicated” is often used in referring to municipal parkland subject to State alienation requirements. Common phrases include “lands dedicated for park purposes” and “dedicated parklands.” The dedication of parkland may be formal through an official act by the governing body of the municipality.

Dedication can also be implied. This may occur through actions which demonstrate that the government considers the land to be parkland or the public used it as a park. Examples include: a municipality publicly announcing its intention to purchase the lands specifically for use as a park, “master planning” for recreational purposes, budgeting for park purposes, or “mapping” lands as parkland. Kenny v. Board of Trustees of Village of Garden City, 735 N.Y.S.2d 606, 607 (App. Div. 2nd 2001)(property acquired for recreational purposes and used for recreation was instilled with public trust even though never officially dedicated).

Here is the State's handbook on alienation, updated September 2017: https://parks.ny.gov/publications/documents/AlienationHandbook2017.pdf

News feed

Nov. 6, 2017, 8:24 p.m.
NYCommons Researcher said

This lot is Strategic Site #1 in the Harlem River Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), designated in August 2016 as part of New York State's Brownfield Opportunity Area program. The Harlem River BOA includes over 200 acres on the Bronx side of the Harlem River, extending from West 149th Street to where the Harlem River meets the Hudson River. The Bronx Council for Environmental Quality (BCEQ) worked with NYC Parks to develop the successful BOA proposal, which seeks to clean up environmental contamination in the area and develop a district of waterfront parks connected by the Harlem River Greenway and linked to larger greenway systems as well as upland neighborhoods. Read the full report: https://docs.dos.ny.gov/opd/boa/HarlemRiverBOA.pdf

Sept. 29, 2017, 1:56 p.m.
paula uploaded
July 2016 Letter Starting the Environmental Review of the Project to Build on this Site This sentence in the last letter from the mayor's office is their legal argument, not a conclusion: "The project site is currently under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (“DPR”) but is not mapped parkland, considered to be parkland, or subject to parkland alienation." This is something a court can determine, applying the implied dedication standards of the public trust doctrine.
Sept. 11, 2017, 5:05 p.m.
mara at 596 acres said

https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/09/05/de-blasio-housing-plan-seeks-land-promised-as-yankees-replacement-park/

De Blasio Housing Plan Seeks Land Promised as Yankees Replacement Park
City Hall says expansion of Bronx green space was never a formal commitment
by PATRICK ARDEN
SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

Bronx residents say the city promised this lot as parkland to replace that lost to the new Yankee Stadium; Mayor de Blasio wants it for housing towers.
REBEL IN THE RYE
A decade has passed since the city demolished more than 25 acres of South Bronx parkland to build a new multibillion-dollar Yankee Stadium. Yet the legacy of that project, and the contentious park swap that made it possible, now threatens the plans of Mayor Bill de Blasio as he tries to put high-rise housing on a vacant lot beside the Harlem River. After months of controversy, city officials are insisting that the disputed parcel was never promised as parkland — despite Bronx residents’ recollection otherwise.

The land in question is adjacent to Mill Pond Park, which was created on the Harlem River waterfront as part of the Yankee Stadium parks replacement plan. For years neighborhood residents were told the vacant lot, which lies to the south, would eventually be added to the park. The extra acreage was included on the Parks Department’s website, and a sign in the park even featured a map describing the area with the words “Future Park Expansion.”

But in May the de Blasio administration announced a plan to have an as-yet-unnamed developer construct housing towers there with up to 1,045 apartments, plus retail shops and a publicly accessible lawn and esplanade. Half the units would be designated as affordable for households earning up to 80 percent of the city’s median income, meaning a family of four making up to $76,320 a year could apply for residency. (The annual median income in Bronx Community Board 4, where the site is located, is around $26,000.) Some in the neighborhood are preparing to once again do battle with city hall over parks.

“It’s another broken promise,” says Highbridge resident Anita Antonetty, who was secretary of Bronx Community Board 4 when the stadium plan was first proposed. At both board and community meetings, she recalls, city officials spoke of the future addition to Mill Pond Park. The Parks Department’s manager of the Yankee Stadium project, Frank McCue, was among those who promised that the undeveloped parcel would hold a skate park, a kayak launch, a recreational building, and lawn space, she says: “They kept saying, eventually, down the line, when they got the money, they’d finish the park.”

Antonetty and her neighbors still pine for the old parks along Jerome Avenue, which had been the centerpiece of their community. Macombs Dam Park was established in 1897, a quarter-century before the Yankees arrived in the Bronx, and the neighborhood grew up around it. Macombs Dam and Mullaly parks were worn from heavy use — one field was bare, and the grass could often be brown — but they had hundreds of mature leafy green trees, some sixty feet tall. The outdoor space held special importance for families crammed into one-bedroom apartments.

All that was lost in August 2006, when the city closed off the parkland to make way for a new stadium. State law requires the formal “alienation” of parks by the legislature before they can be used for non-park purposes. When Albany lawmakers alienated portions of Macombs Dam and Mullaly parks in 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to replace the green space with a new park on the old stadium site across the street, and with the addition of a set of other parcels elsewhere in the neighborhood.

Locals had problems with the “replacement” parks from the start. In exchange for a unified stretch of parkland, they would get plots of land scattered across more than a mile, with much less greenery and fewer ballfields. One of the largest replacements would sit two stories above street level atop a parking garage, with artificial surfaces and no trees. Small “pocket” parks would be in the shadow of the 4 train’s elevated tracks. A 2.89-acre asphalt ballfield wasn’t even replaced — the city converted it into another garage, insisting the land had only been used for parking cars, though project documents acknowledged it had been parkland.

While the new stadium opened on schedule, in the spring of 2009, the replacement park timeline lagged. The park atop the garage opened in 2010, and Heritage Field, on the site of the former stadium, didn’t debut until 2012. In 2015, two new playgrounds on River Avenue were still undergoing an environmental cleanup. State regulators finally closed the spill on August 11.

Antonetty remembers when representatives of then–Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. first unveiled the park replacement plan to Community Board 4. Negotiations were still taking place, they said, but the only park on their map besides Heritage Field was a track-and-field facility on top of a garage. The community board voted against the project in November 2005, after which city officials were “suddenly open to discussing more parkland,” Antonetty recalls. “That’s how we got Mill Pond Park.”

Mill Pond Park would be the largest, and most peculiar, chunk of new parkland created in the swap. Located on the Harlem River — a mile away from the parks that were bulldozed — it has a tennis concession that charges up to $105 an hour, picnic spots, a small beach, and an esplanade offering waterfront views. Getting there from the neighborhood served by the old parks takes a hike, across the Metro-North tracks and under the Major Deegan Expressway, to a strip of land built atop five piers.

One of these piers was already slated to become a park as part of another taxpayer-subsidized project: the Related Companies’ Gateway Center shopping mall on the site of the old Bronx Terminal Market. But the Bloomberg administration ended up needing the developer’s waterfront land for the Yankees project, thanks in part to a federal law that brought the National Park Service into the picture.

That law — the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 — required the city to replace a specific piece of Macombs Dam Park that now sits under the new stadium’s Great Hall, food stalls, and right and center fields. The 10.67-acre parcel had received a $302,914 federal grant in 1979 to pay for a refurbished running track, soccer field, and grandstands. According to LWCF rules, any park that has received federal money must remain a park unless it’s replaced with new parks of equal value, utility, and location.

Approval for the parkland swap, then, had to come from the National Park Service. But a month before the June 2005 announcement of the stadium, signs of trouble were already evident. In an email to state parks officials, NPS project manager Jean Sokolowski wrote, “ ‘Develop recreational facilities atop two of the garages’ is a questionable LWCF option.”

The plan was then rejiggered. The city shifted tennis courts from the top of a garage to a planned 5.1-acre Mill Pond Park, previously set to be the site of replacement ballfields. In February 2006, the city indicated that the LWCF replacement parkland would be spread over parts of three parcels — the existing stadium site, a concrete walkway known as Ruppert Plaza, and Mill Pond Park.

City parks officials “didn’t have a lot of acreage to work with,” says Lukas Herbert, an urban planner for Westchester County, who then served on Community Board 4. He co-authored a report that argued Mill Pond Park’s tennis concession wouldn’t qualify as LWCF replacement parkland: The old facilities had been available free of charge, while the proposed replacement was a commercial enterprise catering to outsiders. Yet the tennis concession remained in the city’s LWCF replacement. Today, only four of the park’s sixteen courts are open to anyone with a $100 city tennis permit, though these courts are sometimes claimed by summer camps and schools.

By early 2006, Related had transferred four of the five piers to the city in return for a $2.5 million rent credit. In exchange for Pier 5, the Bloomberg administration gave Related the newly renovated Bronx House of Detention, which the developer tore down. The Mill Pond Park land turned out to be heavily polluted, and the city spent $64 million to build the park — triple its original estimate. When construction stopped on the northern end of Pier 5, Antonetty was told by Parks Department officials the city had “run out of money.”

As built, Mill Pond Park occupies 11.57 acres along the waterfront, extending from a ramp of the Deegan on the north to 150th Street on the south. A decommissioned leg of 150th Street cuts across Pier 5, creating a rectangular plot, north of the street yet on the pier, that’s been identified in de Blasio’s housing plan as “an extension of Mill Pond Park.” Significantly, this land was included in a description of Mill Pond Park submitted by the city to the National Park Service in June 2006. Jack Howard, the NPS’s manager of state and local assistance programs, tells the Voice he can’t remember whether this version of Mill Pond Park had entered into the LWCF deliberations. “They told us they had a plan, but nothing was built yet.” A month ago, Howard asked for an investigation by the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, but he has yet to hear the results.

The state parks office did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But at a July 14 hearing of the City Planning Commission, the city Parks Department’s Alyssa Cobb Konon testified that only piers 2 and 3 were ever mapped as parkland: “Piers 4 and 5 were not mapped as parks.” Pier 4 was added to Mill Pond Park as “open space in connection with the Gateway Center project,” Konon said, stressing that it was not part of the Yankee Stadium replacement plan.

A city Parks Department spokesperson says that none of Pier 5 was promised as replacement parkland: ““As is illustrated in documentation from the time, Pier 5 was never connected to the Yankee Stadium Redevelopment Project. Its redevelopment will include two acres of waterfront access space along with residential and community facility projects.”

Yet Adrian Benepe, the city’s parks commissioner from 2002 to 2012, tells the Voice that all of what’s currently built of Mill Pond Park — including Pier 4 and the developed slice of Pier 5 — ended up as part of Yankee Stadium’s replacement parkland. The undeveloped section of Pier 5 wasn’t in that deal, Benepe says, though “it had been envisioned that it might be nice to have a park there one day.”

Under de Blasio’s housing proposal, most of Pier 5, including that lot north of 150th Street, would be leased to a private developer. One plan calls for a 99-year lease, with the developer completing and maintaining the park extension as publicly accessible open space — though it would not be mapped as parkland, leaving it vulnerable to future development.

Such an arrangement opens a can of worms, says attorney John Low-Beer, a former assistant corporation counsel for the city who last June successfully got the state’s Court of Appeals to reject a city-backed plan to build a shopping mall on the Mets’ Citi Field parking lot. That court ruling could also apply to the piece of Mill Pond Park north of 150th Street, says Low-Beer. “If they enter into a 99-year lease of parkland, they need legislative permission.”

Meanwhile, de Blasio wants to spend $200 million on area infrastructure — including new sewer and water lines — to make the Pier 5 development possible. At the City Planning Commission hearing, several commissioners expressed dismay that de Blasio was providing only a “framework” plan, with a generic environmental impact statement and no specific details. (A spokesperson for council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose district includes Mill Pond Park, says she is still reviewing the mayor’s Pier 5 proposal.)

As the mayor seeks to follow through on his pledge to build or preserve 200,000 affordable apartments over ten years’ time, parks have become tempting sites for new housing in congested neighborhoods. A mile and a half north of Mill Pond Park, the undeveloped Corporal Fischer Park [lot page: https://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/59053/] has been promised by the city to a builder of low-income housing, and at Second Avenue and 96th Street in Manhattan, the former Marx Brothers Playground is set to become the site of a 68-story apartment tower. In both of these projects, the city has asked the state legislature to alienate the parkland, something critics fear could take the city down a slippery slope.

The City Planning hearing closed with comments from Joyce Hogi of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality. A Grand Concourse resident for forty years, Hogi had been an outspoken critic of the Yankee Stadium parkland swap. She smiled at the commissioners and shook her head. “I’m disappointed,” she said softly. “Sad, really.”

The remaining section of Pier 5 was always promised as a park, Hogi said. “True, we need housing, but if all we’re doing is building housing and not balancing it with parks, we have failed.”

May 25, 2017, 4:07 p.m.
Shannon said

A little bit of context and some ideas for future organizing...

In August 2016, under New York State's Brownfield Opportunity Area program, Governor Cuomo designated "over 200 acres on the Bronx side of the Harlem River; a narrow swath of land extending northward along the waterfront from West 149th Street in the South Bronx to where the Harlem River meets the Hudson River." The Parks Department worked with the Bronx Council on Environmental Quality (BCEQ) to develop the successful BOA proposal, which seeks to realize the community's decades-long vision of a "dynamic district of waterfront parks connected by the Harlem River Greenway and linked to the larger NYC and Putnam greenway systems."

The BCEQ report, linked below, refers to this lot interchangeably as "Pier 5" and "Strategic Site #1." The stated goal for this lot in particular is to "Remediate and build a park at Pier 5, showcasing [Best Management Practices] for storm water management on former brownfields, and restore wetlands." (p. 127, Figure 40)

The BCEQ is pushing back on the disposition of this lot, as outlined in their open letter to the public (dated April 23, 2017, linked below).

The next step for galvanizing momentum behind this advocacy effort is reaching out to BCEQ to determine where community efforts would be most helpful/welcome.

Links
-Governor Cuomo Announces Designation of 12 New Brownfield Opportunity Areas: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-designation-12-new-brownfield-opportunity-areas
-Harlem River Brownfields Opportunity Area [BOA] Nomination Report: https://docs.dos.ny.gov/opd/boa/HarlemRiverBOA.pdf
-Using Parkland to Build Housing: Only in the Bronx!: http://www.bceq.org/2017/04/23/using-parkland-to-build-housing-only-in-the-bronx/

May 14, 2017, 11:32 p.m.
paula said

http://www.welcome2thebronx.com/wordpress/2017/05/09/nyc-parks-erases-promised-bronx-park-land-from-website-as-city-prepares-to-take-it-away-from-the-public/

NYC Parks Erases Promised Bronx Park Land From Website as City Prepares to Take It Away From The Public
By Ed García Conde on May 9, 2017

123
1

Parks sign outside the extension site which the city now wants to develop up to 920,000 square feet development with as many as two towers, one 40 stories and another 26 stories in height.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio prides himself on being a mayor for all boroughs and ran a campaign on the disparities of a “Tale of Two Cities” yet four years later since his campaigning began, we are no better in many aspects than under the previous Bloomberg administration.

The city thought they could quietly take away a promised plot of land for the expansion of Mill Pond Park along the Harlem River north of 149th Street but thanks to Welcome2TheBronx who first broke the story last year, we were able to put them on notice that we are watching.

Last year, the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the vacant 4.7 acre plot of land that was promised and destined to be part of the people’s waterfront park.

After we pointed out that this was indeed dedicated parkland, NYC Parks quietly attempted to remove traces of the promises by removing the 4.7 acres from Mill Pond Park’s webpage on their site—but not before we were able to take screenshots.

NYC Parks includes the extension’s 4.7 acres in the total 15 acres of the park. As it stands, only 11.3 acres have been improved as park land. This was taken last year

As you can see, NYC Parks has removed the land from the map and the acreage.
Last week Bronx residents and activists met with staff from NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who’s district covers the park, to ask her to put a stop to this land grab.

Let’s face it: If this were in Manhattan, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion because the people would not let it happen but because it’s The Bronx, we’re still living in a tale of two cities where the city does whatever it pleases.

Mill Pond Park map at the park itself shows the southern parcel as part of future expansion of Mill Pond Park.
The only reason the city wants the land is to develop “affordable” housing which shows just how desperate de Blasio is to show he’s actually doing something with the affordability crisis we’re facing—but he’s not.

But there may be a saving grace.

Paula Z. Segal, an attorney who has dedicated herself to the preservation and creation of open, green spaces, commented on the legality of what is going on here:

“In order to convey parkland to a nonpublic entity, or to use parkland for another purpose, a municipality must receive prior authorization from the State in the form of legislation enacted by the New York State Legislature and approved by the Governor. “Once land has been dedicated to use as a park, it cannot be diverted for uses other than recreation, in whole or in part, temporarily or permanently, even for another public purpose, without legislative approval.” United States v. City of New York, 96 F.Supp.2d 195, 202 (E.D.N.Y. 2000). This clear law has been applied consistently since 1871.

The question is: what is parkland?

The term “dedicated” is often used in referring to municipal parkland subject to State alienation requirements. Common phrases include “lands dedicated for park purposes” and “dedicated parklands.” The dedication of parkland may be formal through an official act by the governing body of the municipality.

Dedication can also be implied. This may occur through actions which demonstrate that the government considers the land to be parkland or the public used it as a park. Examples include: a municipality publicly announcing its intention to purchase the lands specifically for use as a park, “master planning” for recreational purposes, budgeting for park purposes, or “mapping” lands as parkland. Kenny v. Board of Trustees of Village of Garden City, 735 N.Y.S.2d 606, 607 (App. Div. 2nd 2001)(property acquired for recreational purposes and used for recreation was instilled with public trust even though never officially dedicated).

Here is the State’s handbook on alienation: http://nysparks.com/publications/documents/AlienationHandbook.pdf“

Although it would seem that the law is indeed on our side, NYCEDC insists that what they are doing is completely legal.

We are asking NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to save our public land. By allowing the EDC to go forward with this, it would set a dangerous precedent for other parkland throughout the city.

Maybe Public Advocate Letitia James can step in and help our community as well? Either way, we can’t and must not let this happen.

May 8, 2017, 3:44 p.m.
paula said

City backtracks on promise to replace Yankee Stadium parkland
http://nypost.com/2017/05/08/city-backtracks-on-promise-to-build-affordable-housing-units/
By Rich Calder May 8, 2017

The de Blasio administration is reneging on the city’s decade-old promise to replace parkland lost during the construction of the new Yankee Stadium in favor of a high-rise development.

The city’s Economic Development Corp. is pushing plans to build up to 1,045 units of market-rate and affordable housing as well as commercial space along a vacant four-acre lot on East 149th Street in the Bronx.

The area was long earmarked to be the last leg of the Mill Pond Park off the Harlem River.

Geoffrey Croft of the watchdog group NYC Park Advocates said the sleazy switcheroo “screams of Brooklyn Bridge Park all over again, where [some of the] waterfront parkland once promised to a neighborhood was taken away by government in favor of high-rise housing.”

Croft and other activists met with representatives of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito last week to lobby her to block the Bronx development, which must still go through a review process.

As both speaker and the legislator representing the affected Mott Haven neighborhood, Mark-Viverito will wield tremendous influence over whether the project gets approved by the City Council.

Mark-Viverito said through a rep that she is “reviewing this proposal” and remains undecided.

The area lost more than 25 acres of parkland after the Bronx Bombers in 2005 were greenlighted to build their new ballpark.

At the time, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki and the Yankees promised to eventually create more parkland than was lost. But only about 21 acres of new green space has been delivered.

Killian Jordan, a member of Bronx Community Board 4, called it “spectacularly inappropriate” that the city would be dangling the hope of bringing the neighborhood much-needed affordable housing at the expense of losing promised parkland.

She suggested that the EDC instead build affordable housing on some of the city-owned lots now used for stadium parking, urging Yankee fans to use more mass transit.

But EDC officials insist that the mixed-use project will be a big victory for the community because it will still include some new open space and provide neighborhood jobs.

The agency said it is considering acquiring a 2.5-acre lot, five blocks south of Mill Pond Park on East 144th Street, to build another park there.

“We have a booming population that needs both affordable housing and recreational space, and [our] . . . investment strategy aims to do just that,” said EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez.

The city last year purchased land needed to complete a long-delayed park on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront in Brooklyn to appease residents there. The locals had been promised the parkland in 2005 as a giveback for a controversial neighborhood rezoning that included construction of high-rise housing.

May 1, 2017, 10:49 a.m.
mara at 596 acres said

http://www.motthavenherald.com/2017/04/27/advocates-mourn-loss-of-promised-parkland/

Advocates mourn loss of promised parkland
APRIL 27, 2017
BY ANNIE NOVA

Community Board 4 weighs city’s plan to build housing on waterfront site near Melrose

South Bronx residents and environmental advocates say the city is breaking a promise it made to them years ago to create parkland with public access on a five-acre site along the Harlem River waterfront, but now says it will build housing on the site instead.

At a public hearing at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Apr. 25, officials from the city’s Economic Development Corp. (EDC) asked Community Board 4 to grant a preliminary thumbs-up in the lengthy land use review process, ULURP, saying they want to build up to 1,045 units of mixed-income housing on the vacant lot at the southern edge of Mill Pond Park north from 149th Street. In addition, commercial and entertainment facilities would be built and jobs and some open space added, the officials said.

The parks department owns the lot but plans to transfer it to the EDC to facilitate development. The community board’s vote on the plan is advisory only and is just the first step in a lengthy process. Their vote, which will take place at Board 4’s May meeting, will be followed by votes by the borough president, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and the mayor.

More than a decade ago, public outcry was ferocious when the city gave developers South Bronx land that included more than 20 acres of parkland that were destroyed to build the new Yankee Stadium and surrounding parking lots. The city capitulated to residents’ demands for compensation, agreeing to create new parks, including Mill Pond Park, which was to extend north-south along the Harlem River at Melrose’s western edge.

But although the city opened the park in 2009, it never fulfilled its initial promise to expand it for canoeing and other river recreation. City officials argue that there was no money to finish the project.

But few attendees at the April 25 meeting saw eye-to-eye with the city’s present plan to build housing there. Speaker after speaker stepped to the mic to instead stress concerns about the fate of the waterfront, the wetlands, and lost recreational opportunities for residents.

“New buildings are blooming all over the Bronx, but I don’t see new parks blooming,” said Killian Jordan, 70, who lives on the Grand Concourse.

A member of the grassroots Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, I.C. Levenberg-Engel, urged Board 4 to vote down the city’s proposal on the grounds it amounted to another handover of land designated for public use to developers for private gain.

“You members of Community Board 4 are here to decide on an issue with extensive influence on the Bronx’s future,” he read aloud from a prepared speech.

Activists handed out copies of a 2006 map that showed the city’s original plans for the park, with the parcel demarcated “Future Park Expansion” past the park’s southern end in a segment called Pier 5.

“The city said there was no money to extend Mill Pond Park through Pier 5, but that when the money became available, that’s what would happen,” said Anita Antonetty, a Bronx Council for Environmental Quality member.

After the meeting, an Economic Development Corp. official contended that the city is not going back on its word or violating any agreements.

“We did dig through a lot of legal documentation before we even started,” said the EDC’s vice president Kate Van Tassel after the meeting. “There is a lot of history about Yankee Stadium, about the tradeoffs for parkland. If this site had been included in that tradeoff, then we couldn’t do this. But we looked, and it wasn’t.”

Van Tassel added that the two or three acres of open space that may be included in the initial development plans is probably more recreational space than residents would otherwise ever get on the abandoned parcel. Although the agency sympathizes with Bronxites’ need for parkland, she said, its mission is to consider the bigger picture. Nowadays, she said, the urgent need for housing for New Yorkers trumps all other needs.

“In this administration, affordable housing is that bigger picture,” she said.

On a rainy April morning, longtime open-space advocate and Highbridge resident Chauncy Young walked around the periphery of the empty lot and said it was frustrating to watch another instance of the city taking recreational space away from the South Bronx. He pointed to a parks department sign posted on a fence around the lot, with a sign on it that reads “Mill Pond Park.”

“These signs went up all around when they were building Mill Pond Park,” Young said. “This is a resource.”

“We need more activities for our children,” he continued, recalling that the city’s original proposal included a kayak launch, a skate park and a recreational facility. He added that any “open space” the city includes in the plan will fall well short of the recreational opportunities a park would provide.

The director of a prominent nonprofit organization dedicated to land preservation agreed, saying he was skeptical the public will reap significant benefits from any deal for public space struck between the city and developers. Andrew Stone, New York City Director of The Trust for Public Land, said that any developer who is eventually granted permission to build on the site is unlikely to provide more than an obligatory token of public access.

“Yeah, sure, there will have to be some open space provided, but it can be a fairly narrow strip,” said Stone. “And without room for activities.”


CB 4 is voting, as part of ULURP, on TUESDAY, MAY 23,
6:00pm at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse 10456

The Housing and Land Use committee, & Parks and Rec Committee, meet TONIGHT. Call District Manager Paul Philips for more info at 718-299-0800

April 22, 2017, 4:17 p.m.
paula said

EDC's posted Information Session Q&A for the site (https://www.nycedc.com/sites/default/files/files/rfp/qa-documents/QA%20posted%20August%2022%202016.pdf):

Q: Would the city be open to the developer building the Shore Public Walkway and Mill Pond Park Extension?

A: NYCEDC will consider proposals in which the respondent builds these open spaces. If this is the respondents preferred option, an explanation should be included in the proposal. The selected Developer(s) will be responsible for paying for the maintenance of all publicly accessible open space on the zoning lot, in accordance with waterfront zoning, including all structures within. The City reserves the right to require that the selected Developer(s) perform the maintenance of the open space directly. The selected Developer(s) will be required to enter into an agreement with the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide financial support for the maintenance of the open spaces, including all structures within (or, alternatively, to perform the maintenance itself if Parks so requires), in perpetuity, in accordance with the agreement and waterfront zoning.

RFEI:

General waterfront zoning and the proposed Special District sub-district will specify that the parcel adjacent to Mill Pond Park will be developed as open space (identified as Mill Pond Park Extension on the map included in Appendix 4, the “Mill Pond Extension”), connecting directly to the shore public walkway. NYCEDC has allocated funding to design and construct the shore public walkway along the waterfront and Mill Pond Extension. NYCEDC will design and construct this open space portion in coordination with the Developer(s). The shore public walkway and Mill Pond Park Extension will not be part of the lease; however the development rights will be available for the Project. The precise northern and eastern boundaries of the Site will be determined during the RFEI process.

April 15, 2017, 12:48 p.m.
sb posted
Block 2539 Lots 2 and 3
Block 2539 Lots 2 and 3 Portions of lots proposed for disposition.
April 15, 2017, 12:46 p.m.
sb said

Disposition site includes portions of tax lots to the north of this lot, Block 2539, Lots 2 and 3.

Land Use Application # C 170314 PPX:
DISPOSITION OF REAL PROPERTY BLOCK 2356, LOTS 2 AND 72;
BLOCK 2539, LOT 1; AND PORTIONS OF BLOCK 2539, LOTS 2 AND
3; AND THE DEMAPPED PORTION OF THE FORMER EAST 150TH STREET
BETWEEN EXTERIOR STREET AND THE PIERHEAD AND BULKHEAD LINE.

April 15, 2017, 12:39 p.m.
sb said

ULURP application certified on 3/20/17, referred to community board for 60 days, 3/29-5/30. CB hearing scheduled for 4/12.

Nov. 17, 2016, 11:11 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

Tell City Council about the NYC Parks Property You Are Organizing at a Hearing on December 1 at the Oversight Hearing called "An Examination of Parks Department Properties Currently Inaccessible to the Public." It will be at 1pm at City Hall.

Email organizers@596acres to let us know you are coming and if you want help preparing your testimony!

Aug. 8, 2016, 12:47 p.m.
paula at 596 acres posted
Aug. 8, 2016, 12:45 p.m.
paula at 596 acres posted
Aug. 8, 2016, 12:33 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

Evidence that this is mapped parkland laid out in this blog post: http://www.welcome2thebronx.com/wordpress/2016/07/18/city-takes-away-bronx-public-lot-once-promised-as-parkland-proposes-massive-development-instead/

Aug. 8, 2016, 12:32 p.m.
paula at 596 acres uploaded
Lower Concourse North EDC RFEI