Brooklyn will become home to the largest state park in New York City, announced Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday.
The new 407-acre Shirley Chisholm Park, named in honor of the Brooklyn-born trailblazer who was the first African-American congresswoman and the first woman and African American to run for president, will stretch along East New York’s Jamaica Bay and is slated to open summer 2019.
“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, and we are proudly naming this park after her in admiration for the example of leadership and devotion she set for all of us.”
The first phase of the park, which is expected to cost around $20 million and to be completed by the park’s opening, will feature ten miles of trails for hiking and biking, a pier, waterfront access for kayaking, environmental education programs, picnic areas, concessions and comfort facilities.
The planning period for the design of phase two will begin in the fall of 2019 and, according to community input, could include an amphitheater, an environmental education center, lawn patios and a cable ferry.
The new park will sit atop the former Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill and Fountain Avenue Landfill, which were operated by NYC Department of Sanitation from 1956 to 1983.
The preparation of the site for potential recreational use began in 2002 with a $235 million site remediation that included the installation of an impermeable cap and below-ground barrier. Since then, more than 1.2 million cubic yards of clean soil was spread across the site, and more than 35,000 trees and shrubs were planted. Added prairie grass and native plantings have prevented erosion and have created a diverse ecosystem of more than 400 acres of coastal meadows, wetlands, woodlands and local wildlife.
“Green space and clean, safe outdoor recreation are some of our community’s critical needs, and now, with hiking and biking trails, kayaking and more, Brooklyn residents will have opportunities to enjoy the outdoors like never before,” said Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy.