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Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver attends

Groundbreaking at Belden Pt. Parks Department Greensteeet on City Island

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A pocket park that should offer great views of Long Island Sound is now under construction after a decade-long quest to get it built.

The long-awaited greenstreet at the very end of City Island Avenue, which will jut out into Long Island Sound, is currently under construction as the Parks Department held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, April 15.

It has been about a decade since funding was allocated in the state and city budgets by then-Borough President Adolfo Carrion for the $420,000 project at Belden Point at a southern tip of City Island.

Mayor de Blasio’s office, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.’s office, and New York State will share the project’s cost.

Senator Jeff Klein helped preserve the funding in the state budget following the post-2008 recession.

The greenstreet design will define a vehicular turnaround with safety features, and will include a landscaped area, street trees, benches, a new sea rail, decorative trash bins, and a bicycle rack.

“This public plaza will add a beautiful new greenstreet to the Bronx, complete with shade trees and flowering shrubs where visitors and residents can enjoy views of the Long Island Sound,” said Mitchell Silver, New York City’s Parks Commissioner. “These small habitats not only make each neighborhood more beautiful, but also more resilient, aiding in stormwater capture and providing a home to countless insects, butterflies, and passing birds.”

Klein said that he looks forward to seeing the park completed, which he believes will increase waterfront access and transform this part of island into a destination for families.

“The pocket park at Belden Point is a long-awaited victory for the City Island community,” the senator said. “I’m proud to have preserved $170,000 in state funding to get this project off the ground and I applaud the City Island Civic Association and the surrounding City Island community for ensuring that this project finally gets underway.”

The park’s waterfront is “City Island’s backyard,” said John Doyle.

He recalled the history of Belden Point, named for a 19th century Wall Street tycoon with a somewhat dubious reputation who lived nearby, and later a landing spot for tourists from Manhattan visiting by steamship.

Currently, the future location of the park, which a Parks Department spokeswoman said could be completed as early as next spring, has pilings from a dock that was destroyed decades ago. Sometimes, debris has been dumped at the location, a turnaround for traffic at the end City Island Avenue.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto thanked Community Board 10 member and City Island resident Virgiia Gallagher, who claims she was part of a waterfront study panel commissioned by Governor Pataki to secure the initial funding.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Posted 12:00 am, April 27, 2015
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