Councilman Andrew Cohen was joined by community members and his fellow elected officials at Van Cortlandt Park on Friday, September 20 as he announced the full funding of the Van Cortlandt Park pedestrian bridge.
The project has received the $11,500,000 additional capital needed to fully fund the $23,500,000 project.
Councilman Cohen has been committed to seeing this project through to completion, and fought to ensure that the short-fall in capital was rectified with the passage of the city’s most recent budget.
He worked with Mayor de Blasio, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the New York State Senate, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressman Eliot Engel and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz to secure the $12 million needed for the full funding of the design and construction of the pedestrian bridge in 2015.
Since securing the necessary capital over four years ago, the NYC Department of Design and Construction commenced the planning and design work, which revealed that the cost of the bridge was projected to be $10 to $12 million more than the original estimate made by the city in 2015. In 2019, Cohen worked the mayor’s office of Management & Budget to ensure that fully funding this pedestrian bridge remained a priority of the city.
The construction of a Van Cortlandt Park pedestrian bridge has been a goal of the community for several decades as a way to combat the devastating impacts that Robert Moses and the Major Deegan Expressway have had on Van Cortlandt Park. The addition of a pedestrian bridge would allow neighboring communities to easily access both sides of the 1,146-acre landscape, which they are currently unable to do easily without a car.
By uniting the western and eastern halves of the park back together the park will be made more equitable for all New Yorkers, giving easy access to all the facilities and beauty that Van Cortlandt Park has to offer.
“I am thrilled to announce that the Van Cortlandt Park pedestrian bridge project has finally received full funding,” said Cohen.
“This is a project that the Alliance, our two predecessor organizations, and the Bronx community have advocated for over the last decade. This is a momentous occasion for Van Cortlandt Park,” said Nina Habib Spencer and Carol Samol, co-chairs Van Cortlandt Park Alliance
“Securing funding for the construction of this pedestrian bridge in Van Cortlandt Park means greater accessibility for Bronxites who frequent the park grounds,” said Heastie.
“I look forward to crossing the bridge, like so many other Bronxites and park users from all over the region, in the near future,” said Borough President Diaz.
Congressman Eliot Engel said, “We have been requesting a pedestrian footbridge to connect Van Cortlandt Park for years, and now thanks to the efforts of our local elected officials, the funding is in place to make it happen.” “I look forward to a continued dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure the bridge is built in a way that reflects what our community wants – cost efficient, aesthetically appealing, and environmentally sensitive which will not needlessly cut down trees,” said Dinowitz.