Community Board 8 held a press conference on Thursday, October 26, to mark the completion of a massive clean-up effort of CSX’s 3/4-mile-long Putnam South property, adjacent to the Major Deegan Expressway from Van Cortlandt Park South to West 230th Street.
This project was performed by CSX Transportation at the request of the community board and involved months of intense garbage and debris clean up, path-clearing and graffiti removal for the length of the property.
The event was held on a portion of the Putnam South right-of-way property at the eastern end of Verveelen Place between West 230th and 231st streets, just east of Broadway.
“I commend our Environment and Sanitation Committee chair Laura Spalter and her committee for pursuing the necessary clean-up of the CSX Putnam South property and the agreement by CSX to undertake this massive effort,” said Rosemary Ginty, CB 8 chairwoman. “A true success story for our community.”
Spalter responded that the cleanup has removed a neighborhood blight and revealed the potential for a new Rails-to-Trails Greenway with tremendous environmental, recreational, and economic benefits to the community.
Senator Jeff Klein said that the abandoned CSX rail line “has been littered with debris for far too long and I’m glad to assist Community Board 8 in their push to get the land cleaned up. CSX has made progress and I look forward to the completion of the cleanup.”
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “I applaud CSX and Community Board 8, including Environmental and Sanitation Committee Laura Spalter and board chair Rosemary Ginty, for their work on this huge cleanup of the Putnam South Right-of-Way.”
Dinowitz added that “a horrible eyesore has been transformed and an enormous amount of garbage has been removed from our neighborhood. This is the kind of hard work and team work that makes ours the great community that it is.”
Councilman Andrew Cohen applauded CSX and the community board for coming to an agreement on the cleanup of Putnam South.
“It’s so important that community partners work together to keep the Bronx beautiful,” Cohen said. “I’m thrilled that the cleanup has been agreed upon and that progress has been made.”
NYC Parks Bronx Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa complimented CB 8, saying its “unyielding advocacy has made this cleanup a reality. Now we are looking towards the future and are excited for this land to reach its full potential.”
Rodney Oglesby, resident vice president for state government affairs for CSX, said, “CSX would be pleased to see this property repurposed for recreational uses by residents of the Van Cortlandt and Kingsbridge community. We look forward to continuing our dialog with the city in hopes of identifying a path forward in that process.”
The CSX Putnam Railroad right-of-way, previously used for railroad traffic, was discontinued in the 1950s. The entire ROW stretched for 2.5 miles from West 230th Street to the Westchester County Line.
The 3/4 mile segment of Putnam South, varying in width from 25 to 50 feet, is vacant and not publicly accessible.
Over the many decades of non-use, it became overgrown with weeds, covered with graffiti and a dumping ground for refuse and debris.