Construction starts on first of Ferry Point Park improvements

John Korres of Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Dwayne Jenkins, Wilhelm Ronda of the Bronx Borough President’s office, Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns, Councilman James Vacca, Dorothea Poggi, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Shirley Brockway, Elena Schwartz of Congressman Crowley’s office, and Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte at the groundbreaking. Photo by Victor Chu

In what will be the first phase of a two-part reconstruction of one of the borough’s most underdeveloped parks, the construction of Ferry Park Community Park near Balcom and Schley avenues, began with a ceremonial shovel of soil on Thursday, November 6.

Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe, Councilman James Vacca, Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns, representatives of Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, as well as the 4th grade class from P.S. 72 and Ferry Point community members were on hand at a ceremony held at Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, Throggs Neck unit at 550 Balcom Avenue to celebrate $15 million in improvements to the park.

“It is an exciting year for the Bronx with parks improvements all across the borough from Soundview to Mount Hope and now at Ferry Point Park,” said commissioner Benepe. “Ferry Point Park is one of many undeveloped areas the city has transformed into a park and the upgrades from this reconstruction will bring even more opportunities to play, with new basketball courts, a new playground, gardens, and a beautiful trail system.”

Parks will also break ground on Phase II with the creation of a formal park entryway leading to a central gathering area with playground, gardens and seating areas, providing access to the ball fields and basketball courts to the north and the naturalized trail system to the south. An additional $2 million has been allocated for the construction of a comfort station on the west side of Ferry Point Park.

Councilman Vacca recalled the dark days for the park, which now are only a memory as all the improvements, including the Ferry Point Park Golf Course, continue.

Vacca and others fought Mayor Edward Koch in 1978 and 1979 when he wanted to reopen the part of Ferry Point Park that had been used as a garbage dump until 1963.

“We told Koch that if you bring garbage to Ferry Point Park, it will attract seagulls, which would be in the flight path of aircraft taking off from LaGuardia Airport,” Vacca said before the groundbreaking. “We went to the Federal Aviation Administration, who then told Mayor Koch that it would not be a good idea to reopen the dump.”

Thanks to the efforts of Vacca and other community activists during the period, the park is today a vibrant place where children, adults, and seniors can walk along the waterfront.

“One of the great things about the Bronx and New York City is that we have all these great parks,” Kearns said. “CB 10 and our parks committee are always at the forefront in getting more money for parks. We congratulate the community on their new park.”

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