Co-op City will be getting a new park, courtesy of the city and Riverbay Corporation.
The waterfront park was announced at a Thursday, May 25 event at the Bartow Center attended by Assemblyman Michael Bendetto, Councilman Andy King, Congressman Eliot Engel and, capping off City Hall’s week in the borough, Mayor de Blasio.
The 1.4-acre park site was donated by Riverbay Corporation and will be located on a parcel running along the Hutchinson River.
The land is just south of the Co-op City Little League field, and will offer great views of nearby Pelham Bay Park.
Longtime Co-op City resident Eva Lazaar opened the presentation by recalling her time raising her daughters in the development and regularly visiting nearby parks.
“The parks give us a place to breathe and children a place to thrive,” Lazaar said. “Parks are the places that helped make Co-op City a neighborhood, a community - parks help civilize us.”
The mayor used the event to discuss the importance of public parks in the city and the work to expedite parks projects over the past three years.
“Knowing that beautiful waterfront was there looking out over Pelham Bay Park, but wasn’t accessible the way it should be, that’s frustrating, right?” de Blasio said.
The mayor, who was joined by NYC Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver, said that the park idea was brought up at a recent meeting with Co-op City leaders.
He said the city was able to work with Riverbay to get the project up and running quickly.
The elected officials on hand said they appreciated that effort.
King, dressed in a bright green suit, said Co-op City was going green with a new park that will give residents access to the placid waterfront.
“We won’t be doing any fishing over here, but we’ll have an opportunity to let our thoughts drift off into the waters or take a stroll on a Sunday afternoon,” King said.
Benedetto recalled seeing a rendering of a waterfront park in Co-op City’s management office much like the one being announced. That park rendering included a waterfront walkway.
He credited Riverbay and the mayor with taking the action to finally make the park a reality.
“You made a dream come true, so thank you,” he said.
Benedetto said the NYC Parks Department would likely seek input from the community on what they want in the new park, a process he said would likely take several months at best.
Engel, who lived in Co-op City for 26 years, recalled his time as a resident and the impact of the 45,000-resident private development in getting him elected.
He thanked the mayor for making the park a reality, as well as the Riverbay board members.
“They don’t get paid, they’re volunteers,” Engel said. “They run (for the board) because they care about the community.”