Governor Cuomo Gives Hudson River Park $50 million | chelseanow.com

Governor Cuomo Gives Hudson River Park $50 million

Governor Andrew Cuomo has committed to completing the Hudson River Park if elected to a second term. | File photo courtesy of The Villager

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Showing he’s serious about fulfilling his pledge, made in his State of the State address earlier this year, that he would finish building the Hudson River Park if re-elected to another term, Governor Andrew Cuomo has included $50 million in capital funds for the waterfront park in the annual state budget.

According to Gotham Gazette, the budget also “includes language to ensure that New York City makes the phased and matched investments necessary to get the job done.”

Tom Fox, one of the City Club of New York members who sued the Hudson River Park Trust over Barry Diller’s Pier 55 plan, was heartened by the news. Last October, the City Club plaintiffs agreed not to file objections to new US Army Corps of Engineers permits for the Diller project in exchange for Cuomo’s pledge to finish the 4.5-mile-long park between Chambers and W. 59th Sts., and also to include funding for restoration of wetland areas. The budget includes $1.5 million for restoration of “soft areas” along the park’s shoreline.

“It appears he kept his word,” Fox said, “and so did we. In this day and age, shaking hands can still work.”

However, many more dollars will be needed to complete the park. The most recent figure given by the Trust is that it will take $619 million to get the job done.

The Trust declined comment, but Connie Fishman, executive director of Hudson River Park Friends (formerly Friends of Hudson River Park), issued a statement.

“We are grateful for the $50 million promised by the governor and approved by the state Legislature,” she said. “Combined with the potential funds from the sale of [park] air rights, this will go a long way toward completing the park’s northern section. We’d like to thank the governor for his commitment to completing Hudson River Park in the next few years, and our local elected officials for supporting us throughout this process.”

Assemblymember Deborah Glick said the city and state should commit to funding the park over the long term — not just to finishing its construction.

“It is a good step,” Glick said of the $50 million, “but it is intended to pay for capital build-out, while a major part of the expense has been repairing storm damage and keeping up with maintaining a heavily used park. We can never build ourselves out of the ongoing expense of this waterfront park. I would hope that the governor and mayor recognize the true long-term cost of the park is also a public responsibility and should not be shouldered solely by commercial developments in the park.”

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he will do his part to ensure the city upholds it end of the bargain in funding the park.

“The Hudson River Park is one of our community’s most vital assets,” he said, “a green oasis on a West Side that is otherwise starved of parks. For too long, it hasn’t received the funding from state and local sources that it deserves. The $50 million capital allocation by Governor Cuomo is a game-changer. Now, we in city government must meet our obligations and support a park that has given our community so much. One of my top priorities as speaker is to ensure, by the end of my term, that the build-out of Hudson River Park is fully funded and that the park is on strong financial footing for decades to come.”

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  1. […] have $50 million each from the governor and the City for the Hudson River Park to develop the north end, Pier 97 at 57th Street, which is […]