CB7 eyes Fordham waterfront

Community Board 7 has engaged graduate students from Columbia University to propose recreational redevelopment for the Fordham waterfront. Photo courtesy of Ozzie Brown

Beneath the roar of the Major Deegan Expressway and W. 207th Street Bridge to Washington Heights sits the key to a watery future for the neighborhoods of Fordham and University Heights.

Community Board 7 hopes to rezone and reinvent Fordham Landing, a historic Harlem River ferry launch turned Con Edison substation and truck yard. CB7 has engaged students from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture to research the spot this spring and propose a new recreational development.

The proposal could include parkland, beach access and/or a new ferry launch, CB7 land use committee chair Ozzie Brown said. Aptly so, because in July the city held a public hearing to weigh support for ferry service to the Bronx; Fordham Landing is one of eight spots under consideration.

“There’s a lot of potential,” Brown said. “But we need to do the necessary work.”

Fordham Landing was named for Fordham Manor, the same Fordham Manor that lent its name to the neighborhood and the university. When attacked by American rebels during the Revolutionary War, it was burned. Fordham Landing later hosted a volunteer rescue station.

A vehicle ramp offers easy access from W. 207th Street to Fordham Landing but the intersection of W. 207th Street and W. Fordham Road west of Cedar Avenue is among the busiest in the borough. Years ago, a middle housing development was proposed for Fordham Landing but the proposal failed. Brown hopes the Columbia students will help CB7 boot latent industrial uses from the spot.

Similar land on the Washington Heights side of the Harlem River has been reclaimed for recreational use. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an avowed fan of waterfront redevelopment and a new ferry launch at Fordham Landing would link to the Major Deegan and the University Heights Metro-North station, Brown said.

Reach reporter Daniel Beekman at 718 742-3383 or dbeekman@cnglocal.com

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