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Groundbreaking of Bronx River House held at Starlight Park

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Another park alongside the Bronx River will be improved thanks to NYC Parks, NYC Design & Construction and other local organizations.

Along with NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, and Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., many people gathered at Starlight Park on 1490 Sheridan Expressway between the northbound Sheridan Expressway Service Road and East 172nd Street for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Bronx River House on Thursday, October 30.

The Bronx River House will feature a boathouse, a nature classroom and a multipurpose community room open to all. It will also include energy efficient and water conservation elements, providing a multipurpose, economically-friendly location for those who venture to Starlight Park.

This groundbreaking is a big relief for those who have been waiting for it to begin since the Bronx River House was originally conceived and proposed over a year and a half ago.

“The highly anticipated Bronx River House will include interest, involvement and education amongst the community,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “This project is a big step in the right direction towards restoration of the river and the greenway to its full completion.”

The $14.5 million project, which will be designed by Kiss+Cathcart Architects, was made possible by numerous contributions of funding through a partnership of federal, local and state agencies, including $12 million provided through the Department of Environmental Protection and the Municipal Water Finance Authority, along with Councilwoman Annabel Palma, Diaz,, the City Council Bronx Delegation and New York State providing $500,000 each.

Additional grants included $280,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and $268,000 from the NYC Small Business Administration.

Amidst all of the hefty donations, Borough President Diaz, believes that the areas neighboring the Bronx River should receive credit for this new project as well.

“The planning of this Bronx River House started with you – the community,” he said. “In the future, projects like this must reach the community faster and quicker so that the people can benefit from them.”

The borough president also believes that this building will play an important role in creating and raising water safety awareness in the community.

“The Bronx River House will offer lessons on nautical safty to those who visit on a consistent basis. These lessons will hopefully help us avoid another drowning like the one involving Wellington Gavin and Erikson Villa that took place in the Bronx River on June 20.”

Upon its completion, the field house will be the headquarters for the Bronx River Alliance. It will also be the base of operations for the management and continued restoration of the Bronx River and the greenway, areas that have seen consistent and continuous improvement over the years thanks to local environmental groups, who have garnered national attention for the Bronx waterway.

“This building will represent the entire Bronx River,” said Bronx River Alliance administrator Linda Cox. “The community of the Bronx, along with other national communities, should learn about it, care about it, and most importantly - enjoy it.”

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.
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