A Bronx River project was recently awarded $4.4 million from the Department of Interior for natural flood protection for the shoreline at Starlight Park.
The money was granted to the Departments of Parks and Recreation, which has worked with the Bronx River Alliance and other groups to develop the plans.
“It’s wonderful,” said Maggie Scott Greenfield, program director at the Bronx River Alliance. “It enables us to enhance the resiliency of the waterfront in the South Bronx, and it enables us to move forward with phase two of Starlight Park.”
Phase two of Starlight Park involves connecting the park to Concrete Plant Park, one of the missing links in creating a continuous greenway along the 23 miles of Bronx River shoreline.
“This project will help to realize a long-sought community vision: a continuous greenway along the Bronx River, designed with ecological principles, that would provide access to and along the river to thousands of Bronx residents and visitors while better protecting our communities from extreme weather,” said Parks Department spokesman Philip Abramson.
The cost of the park project is about $36 million, but Greenfield said the grant money will help the project start to move forward.
“This will enable us to move into the interim phase, have a more robust interim phase, and get us closer to the final product,” she said.
The funds from the Department of the Interior grant will be applied to shoreline restoration, environmental remediation and storm water infiltration efforts along the river at Starlight Park, said Abramson.
Greenfield said the restoration will include a re-naturalization of shoreline with native plants, such as sea grass, in order to add natural flood protection.
“People have realized post-Sandy that you can use a soft edge to help buffer neighboring communities from a storm surge,” she said.
The $12 million was allocated by the City of New York to be applied to bike paths, pedestrian bridges, seating areas, lighting, and signs, as part of Starlight Park’s second phase, Abramson said, and the first step will be the design process.
The projects are part of the city’s larger resiliency plan overseen by the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, he said, to ensure that all five boroughs are better prepared for extreme weather events.
The money comes on top of $12 million in city funding for additions and improvements to the park.