Ferry Point Park golf course timetable unveiled

Community Board 10 co-sponsored a Ferry Point Park informational meeting Thursday, December 18. The new park’s golf course could open as early as 2011. ( l-r) CB 10 district manager Ken Kearns and Bronx Parks Department commissioner Hector Aponte surveyed aerial photos of Ferry Point. Photo by Daniel Beekman

Throggs Neck neighbors finally got a look at the city’s $92 million plan for Ferry Point Park on Thursday, December 18.

Parks Department officials, including Bronx Commissioner Hector Aponte, presented Ferry Point Park designs at St. Frances de Chantal Church. Councilman James Vacca and Community Board 10 sponsored the meeting.

“[The designs] give us a lot of hope,” said Ted Takides, a 34-year Emerson Avenue resident. “That the project is going to happen. That the park isn’t going to be an eyesore anymore. We’re going to enjoy it – whether kayaking, biking or playing golf.”

Hope Kaufman, Parks project director for Ferry Point Park, sped community members through a construction timeline.

Workers broke ground on Ferry Point’s seven-acre community park November 6. Phase I, now underway, will spruce up the park’s existing basketball courts and ball fields. Phase II will incorporate a playground, garden and seating area. Phase I is scheduled for completion next spring, Phase II next fall.

“I’m encouraged that the city has plans,” Vacca said. “This is what the community originally envisioned.”

In June, Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded Sanford Golf Design the Ferry Point golf course contract. Construction on the course will begin soon, Kaufman said, in line with Sanford’s 18-hole plan. The course could open in 2011. A temporary clubhouse will see the course through its first year.

Parks will release a Ferry Point waterfront park request for proposals (RFP) next fall.

“The presentation was wonderful,” said Ken Kearns, district manager for CB 10. “And assuming the city keeps funding Ferry Point, the timeline seems plausible too.”

Virginia Gallagher, CB 10’s parks committee chair, called Kaufman and Aponte’s presentation “relieving.”

Kaufman responded to lingering pollution questions December 18. Parks will pump chemical waste generated by the golf course’s maintenance facility from an underground tank to an irrigation pond for treatment.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation has released a permit and two independent consultants will monitor the project. The Ferry Point waterfront park will feature environmental mitigation in the form of wildlife habitat. The city has taken borings from the park to check for chemicals; no offshore testing wells exist.

Ferry Point’s new community park will boast little league fields, a spray-shower playground and native grasses. Neighbors will enjoy views of the links-style golf course, a Jack Nicklaus signature facility.

The waterfront park, modeled after Brooklyn’s Jamaica Bay, will consist of a rock beach, boardwalks and a kayak launch.

“We’re going to minimize the hardscape and maximize the softscape,” Kaufman said.

The new Ferry Point Park could fit into the city’s greenway bike route, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to cross under the Whitestone Bridge, to exit near Miles and Emerson avenues.

Dorothea Poggi, who heads Friends of Ferry Point Park, praised Kaufman’s presentation. Poggi is an advocate for Ferry Point Park West, where Parks will install a comfort station and a synthetic turf soccer field. The city could bring ferry service back to Ferry Point Park West as well.

“[Vacca] has done a great job fighting for the park’s east side,” she said. “Now it’s time to concentrate on the west side.”

Poggi wants more Ferry Point Park ball fields, too.

“This was less combative than previous meetings,” Takides said. “Now Parks has history with the community. They’re taking Ferry Point to another level.”

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