Four West Side legislators urged parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe to start construction of a park on the Riverside South development. The project has been awaiting public funds to build a two-block underground cavity for the relocation of the southbound lane of an elevated portion of the West Side Highway. With the current economic climate and budget constraints, a public cash infusion is unlikely.
In a letter to Benepe, the legislators called the park a needed amenity for West Siders.
“We view the timely completion of the park as a longstanding promise to our constituents,” read the letter signed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, State Sen. Tom Duane, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and Council Member Gale Brewer.
In the original plan for Riverside South, the park plans in Phase 5, which covers an area between West 68th and 66th streets, did not include moving part of the highway underground.
The letter agued that constructing the park now—before receiving adequate public funding to build the underground cavity—would not impede relocating the expressway in the future.
The parks department is currently reviewing the letter.
“We look forward to continuing to work with these elected officials to fully achieve the vision for Riverside Park South,” said the department in a statement. “All parties have the goal of a waterfront park for the 21st century that is not under an elevated highway.”
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