City Island’s leaders are surprised, but pleased that New York State is considering two sites in the nautical community for conservation..
A wetlands area along Eastchester Bay between Tier and Ditmars streets, and a location known as the City Island Gateway near Bridge Street and the City Island Bridge, were included in a draft version the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Open Space Conservation Plan.
The draft, recently released, includes several sites in the borough and many throughout the state the could be conserved.
The City Island Civic Association sent a letter to DEC on Tuesday, November 25 expressing support for the idea of including these two sites in the plan.
“As a small neighborhood in a county of 1.4 million people, we were quite surprised and encouraged by the plan’s concentration on our area,” the civic association’s letter stated.
“Currently both sites, the Tier/Ditmars Street wetlands and the City Island Gateway, sit in a state of neglect caused by their respective owners,” it further stated.
The letter went on: “Remediating and repurposing these properties would not only prevent further deterioration of the waterfront, but also provide a symbol of resiliency, protect residents against the threat of climate change, and improve the aesthetics of these areas.”
CICA corresponding secretary John Doyle said that the two sites should be viewed with different goals in mind.
With the wetlands area, his association believes that the goal should be to preserve and enhance wetlands that serve as a natural barrier to flooding. Certain plantings could be made that might reduce flooding in the surrounding streets if the area was remediated, the letter stated.
The letter mentions that the wetlands area is under “continued threat of development.”
In the case of the City Island Gateway, community leaders Linda Baldwin and Susan Bellinson submitted an application to have the area included in the Open Space Conservation Plan, said Doyle.
The location would make a good space for access to the waterfront with a “community boat launch” on the north end of the island next to the City Island Bridge, the letter indicates.
“Part of that location is privately owned, but a good portion of it is in the public’s hands as an unmapped Department of Transportation road,” said Doyle, who added that the Gateway was previously home to a boat rental service and a tavern, but is presently vacant.
“We just want to be supportive on this,” added Doyle. “If we can move this up in the consciousness of the people in the state, that would be advantageous.”
According to DEC documents, among the areas being considered for conservation in the draft version of the plan are sites needed for the creation of a greenway and trailway directly along the Bronx River from East 172nd Street to Soundview Park; Daylight Tibbets Brook, extending from Van Cortlandt Park to the Harlem River; and the acquisition of a parcel known as College Point, along the Hudson River.