Community Board 10 voted at its Thursday, January 19 meeting to reject a controversial plan put forward by the NYC Parks and Recreation Department to create a passive park area adjacent to the Trump Links Golf Course.
Board members voted 20-7 against the proposal, with two members abstaining.
The city’s plan calls for an open passive park on the 19.5 acres of land that sits along the waterfront just north of the Whitestone Bridge and Ferry Point park.
The proposed parkland would include a tidal marsh and provide scenic views for the public.
It would also eventually connect to the western part of the park that was also slated for a facelift.
The $10.7 million plan was recently presented to the board at a November special board meeting by Bronx Parks and Recreation Commissioner Iris Rodriguez Rosa.
“What the response will be from parks, or the city, I can’t say,” said CB 10 chairman Martin Prince.
Funding for the project had already been put aside by the parks department.
The shovel-ready plans can be implemented by the city even without the board’s blessing, or could be abandoned altogether, Prince said.
“We might just be in a position where that $10.7 million that was slated for the project will wind up leaving our community and go somewhere else,” he said.
The city recently rejected a proposal by the Trump Organization, operators of the Trump Links Golf Course at Ferry Point, to lease the city-owned land to expand and improve the golf course and use the remaining land for a passive recreation facility.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen submitted the city’s decision to Eric Trump, in a letter dated Monday, October 17, in which she said the land would provide the east Bronx with a crucial recreational amenity, waterfront access, and a protected wetland.
Prince said despite some misunderstanding by the public, the Trump Links proposal was never put before his board, but was instead rejected by the city.
“There was some conversation that the board would like parks to renegotiate with the (Trump) Links, but that was out of the scope of what we were talking about,” Prince said. “It was generally understood that Trump Links was the tenant of the parks department and they would be negotiating on the issue no matter what.”
The Trump Organization wants the waterfront land to enhance the 17th and 18th holes so it can vie for tournament play.
It company was also willing to rehabilitate other areas of the park in exchange for a lease extension for the golf course.
Much of the apprehension to the Parks Department plan was rooted in past problems, most prominently a lack of maintenance and supervision of the western portion of Ferry Point Park and the years it took to get a new comfort station (restroom) built there, Prince said.
“They said, we’ve trusted them before and it took them so many years to do such-and-such,” he recalled. “We’re under a new administration and different parks commissioner, and now would be a good time to work on some things we couldn’t work on before. But some folks feel it’s always going to be the same.”
Parks department representatives said the plan was still moving forward as previously presented.
“We appreciated hearing from the Community Board, but as outlined in Deputy Mayor Glen’s letter, we believe it is in the City’s best interest to proceed with the waterfront park as proposed,” said NYC parks media relations director Crystal Howard.
Calls to the Trump Organization for comment were not returned by press time.