Due to an environmental investigation, Mariners Marsh - comprised of 107 acres of city parkland south of Richmond Terrace in the Port Ivory section of Mariners Harbor in Staten Island - remains off-limits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is focused on a coal-tar area in the park's northwest corner, a 300-by-300-foot area that was used for Manufactured Gas Production (MGP) in ship-building and steel-making for decades prior to city ownership – from the early 1900s to the 1930s. (Staten Island Advance/Virginia N. Sherry)
Mariners Marsh, 107 acres of city parkland south of Richmond Terrace in the Port Ivory section of Mariners Harbor, boasts 10 ponds, a swamp with Pin Oak trees that date back to the 19th century, and habitats for short-eared owls, muskrats, and vesper sparrows. Sadly, the park remains off-limits to adventurous nature-lovers, according to the Staten Island Advance.
A six-point buck was spied in the marsh on Christmas Eve, said Eileen Corcoran-Olsen, whose home on Pond Way abuts the park. "What a thrill!" she enthused. "This park would be a great asset to the community. This is what we need, after seeing this buck not 20 feet from my home. If the community can get excited again, like I did today, imagine what this park could be."
"Area Closed to Public During Environment Investigation," states a New York City Department of Parks and Recreation sign near the roadside.
"Park Closed During Environmental Impact Study" proclaims another sign in capital letters, this one with no identifying information about the government or private agency that may have posted it.
In response to a recent query about the reason for the continued closure, a Parks Department spokeswoman told the Advance that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "is focused on a coal-tar area in Mariners Marsh's northwest corner, a 300-by-300-foot area that was used for Manufactured Gas Production (MGP) in ship-building and steel-making for decades prior to city ownership – from the early 1900s to the 1930s.
"The land was transferred to Parks in 1997. Parks approved a license for the EPA in October 2010 so that they could remove contaminated material from this area.
"The EPA will carry out additional samplings from the area's soil and groundwater to determine the contamination's vertical and lateral boundaries. The sampling process will take approximately two to three weeks. Once the sample results are in, the EPA will prepare its Removal Work Plan and estimates the process will take two to three months. Parks will then review and can comment on the Removal Plan, but does not have approval authority," the spokeswoman concluded.
Staten Island Advance - January 13, 2011- By Virginia N. Sherry