State “Priority Project”

Community plan to unlock south Bronx waterfront recognized by state

The state Department of Environmental Conservation named the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan, which turns six waterfront patches into boat hubs, flood protectors and parks, to a draft of its ‘Open Space Plan.’

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 2:00 AM
Mychal Johnson dreams of revitalizing this abandoned pier at E. 132nd Street and Locust Avenue into the thriving boat hub it once was.

Mychal Johnson dreams of revitalizing this abandoned pier at E. 132nd Street and Locust Avenue into the thriving boat hub it once was.

South Bronx residents have been demanding access to the waterfront — and it seems that state leaders have heard.

A plan to transform six parcels in Mott Haven and Port Morris into waterfront parks has been nominated for addition to a statewide list of land conservation projects.

The plan — cooked up by South Bronx Unite — would build boat hubs, restore a historic gantry and pier and install a waterfront trail that spans the Harlem River, the Bronx Kill and the East River.

A rendering of the Lincoln Avenue Waterfront park, under the new plan.SOUTH BRONX UNITE

A rendering of the Lincoln Avenue Waterfront park, under the new plan.

Some of the project’s land already serves as the ad-hoc locale for fishing and launching boats, though it requires locals to slip through fences in order to reach the water.

Another sliver runs through the Harlem River Yards, where industrial businesses have operated since 1991 and online grocer FreshDirect is set to break ground next year.

The existing Port Morris Gantries, on E. 134th Street and the East River.SOUTH BRONX UNITE

The existing Port Morris Gantries, on E. 134th Street and the East River.

All of the land is public- owned, but city and state parkland designation would enable organizers to pursue grants and other sources of revenue.

“For us to get this kind of recognition is huge,” said Mychal Johnson of South Bronx Unite.

A rendering of how the historic Port Morris Gantries would look under the Mott Haven Port Morris Waterfront Plan.

A rendering of how the historic Port Morris Gantries would look under the Mott Haven Port Morris Waterfront Plan.

Organizers say the project would bring waterfront access to 100,000 people in the state’s poorest district.

The plan — which will be debated until Dec. 17 at public hearings across the state

This stretch of Lincoln Avenue waterfront plan is currently under-used, say community members hoping to turn it into a park.

This stretch of Lincoln Avenue waterfront plan is currently under-used, say community members hoping to turn it into a park.

— includes features to protect the area against a storm surge, such as rebuilding an abandoned East River pier off E. 132nd St. and Locust Ave., feet away from a utility company substation that exploded in 1989.

But it remains to be seen how the waterfront parks plan could stay afloat alongside the industrial district.

A manager of the Harlem River Yards — which is owned by the state but leased to the Galesi Group — cautioned against creating a waterfront path that would run next to the Oak Point Link rail line that shuttles garbage to and from a waste transfer facility and printing press.

“We are working with the community,” said Anthony Ricchio, the vice president of Harlem River Ventures. “But at the same time, we have to keep people safe.”

bkochman@nydailynews.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

…with love for our hood in truth always…