After years of remediation, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has finally given the green light for park-goers to use the Pelham Bay Landfill for recreational purposes.
The landfill, which is located next to the Pelham Bay Bridge, was active from the mid-1960s up until its closure in 1979 after massive community protests. It has now been deemed remediated by the DEC, and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection is now in the process of turning it over to the Parks Department for use, said DEP spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla.
Parks Department spokeswoman Jesslyn Moser has confirmed that plans are in the works for passive park use at the location, and that Parks is already in the process of meeting with Community Board 10 to discuss the site.
According to Moser, the Parks and Recreation Committee of Community Board 10 will be hearing more from the Parks Department on how to best reintegrate the old landfill into the rest of the park during a meeting at the board office on Monday, March 14.
“The mound has already been planted with grasses and trees that are attractive to wildlife, and the views from the mound are spectacular,” Moser said. “It has the potential to be a terrific attribute for the neighborhood, and we are looking forward to working with the community to explore further uses for this site.”
Moser confirmed that the DEC has determined that the waste site has been properly capped and closed.
“DEC removed it from its list of toxic sites a few months ago and we have seen a preliminary presentation from the Parks Department already,” Kearns said. “There are many things that could be done with the site.”
Among some of the ideas being discussed are putting a permanent American flag on top of the mound that would be lit-up at night, developing hiking and walking trails and building an observation deck at top of the mound, Kearns said.
“We are so happy that the site is now being given to the Parks Department for use,” said CB 10 parks and recreation committee chairwoman Virginia Gallagher.
At night, a lit-up flagpole on top of the mound would be the first thing that motorists would see while entering the Bronx on the Throgs Neck Bridge, Gallagher said.
The idea is also being supported by fellow CB 10 parks committee member Pat Devine, who said a temporary flag was placed on top of the mound about 10 years ago.