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Hunts Point getting greener

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Hunts Point locals will have some more space for recreational activities, thanks to New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP commissioner Carter Strickland recently announced plans to convert a 1.2 acre piece of property there into parkland.

The land, adjacent to Barretto Point Park, served as a storage space for construction equipment and as temporary offices while the Hunts Point Wastewater Treatment Plant underwent renovations.

An environmental remediation of the property will be done before it is turned over to the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

The process will take up to six months and will be funded through the New York State Clean Air/Clean Water Bond Act of 1996, part of an agreement the city reached with Mothers on the Move, a Hunts Point community organization.

Under the city’s supervision, a contractor will add 18 inches of clean fill and six inches of topsoil over the entire lot, as well as plant grass and shrubs before the land is turned over the parks department.

DEP recently completed a $280 million upgrade to the Hunts Point plant’s electrical substation, generators, aeration, and sludge pumping systems that has reduced nitrogen discharges from the plant into the East River and Long Island Sound. The department also installed four underground litter control devices at a cost of $26 million along the Bronx River.

Along with improving the ecological health of the Upper East River, officials said this investment will ensure that the plant remains in a state of good repair for decades to come.

“Our recently completed upgrades to the Hunts Point Plant, along with the new litter control devices along the Bronx River, will help improve the ecological health and cleanliness of the Upper East River,” said DEP Commissioner Strickland. “As we continue to look for opportunities to expand fishing, boating, and other recreational uses of our waterways, this newly converted land will provide residents with an important open space and an additional access point to the East River.”

Wanda Salaman, executive director of Mothers on the Move said she is looking forward to the new recreational space.

“Now that the New York Organic Fertilizer Company’s Hunts Point plant is closed and our community is odor free, we’re excited to work with the city to add recreational space to our beautiful waterfront in Hunts Point,” she said.

Local Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo said the local community “has been anxiously awaiting the conversion of the 1.2 acre parcel into recreational space.”

She called the remediation of the site “an important first step and a great victory for the community.”

“I am deeply committed to securing capital funding to further the Barretto Point Park development and look forward to engaging the community in the scoping and design of the new open space,” she continued. “Congratula­tion to all.”

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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