Hunts Point Park wins Bruner Award

A 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Excellence in the Urban Environment, which is given out to parks and other facilities exhibiting innovative thinking that can be used elsewhere, was bestowed on Hunts Point Riverside Park by the Rudy Bruner Foundation. The award is presented every two years. (L-r) Landscape Architect George Bloomer; Joshua Laird, Director of Planning for Parks; Nancy Prince of Parks department design, Simeon Bruner; Parks commissioner Adrian Aponte; Linda Cox of the Bronx River Alliance; Joan Byron chair of the Bronx River Alliance; and Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx at the awards presentation recently.

It had once been a barren, illegal dumping ground. Now, after opening in the spring of 2007, Hunts Point Riverside Park has won a national award for its replicate-able green design.

Situated between a recycling plant and the world’s largest food distribution center, the park was the brainchild of community groups like Sustainable South Bronx, Bronx River Alliance, The Point, and Rocking the Boat.

On Monday, July 7 the Parks department held a celebration of the 1.4 acre green space winning the prestigious silver medal of the Rudy Bruner national award for urban excellence.

“Hunts Point Riverside Park is a shining example of how community activism combined with a willing partner in government and thoughtful landscape design and planning can positively transform a neighborhood,” said Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe. “By connecting New Yorkers to their natural environment, including the city’s only freshwater river, this innovative waterfront park fosters community development, outdoor fitness and recreation, and a deep appreciation of the city’s natural resources in a neighborhood that has historically lacked green space.”

As silver medal winner, Hunts Point Riverside Park received a $10,000 prize which the city’s partner, the Bronx River Alliance, will invest in the continued development of the Bronx River Greenway, a pedestrian and bike path linked by a set of parks along the Bronx River.

Simeon Bruner, the founder of the Bruner Foundation, said that how clean the community kept the park and how it was situated in a unique spot impressed the awards committee. He was on hand to present a plaque for the park, as well as to community activists who made the dream of having on the Bronx River a reality.

“We are delighted to see this remarkable park get the national recognition that it deserves,” said Bronx River Alliance chair Joan Byron. “Hunts Point Riverside Park powerfully demonstrates how communities and government can work together to the effect far-reaching change, and in particular, how those forces have joined to reclaim the Bronx River as a community asset.”

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