A plan to create a continuous waterfront park in Lower Manhattan between the Hudson and the East rivers is moving forward, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
The Bloomberg administration and local elected officials have reached an agreement to provide $14 million to demolish a 600-foot-long pier shed on the East River that formerly held bananas and coffee, and to draft plans to turn the site into a park.
The huge space, known as Pier 42, was built in the 1960s to house newsprint shipped into the city. It is situated between the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges, at the edge of a site where a larger, $140 million esplanade and pier project is planned along the East River.
Officials have agreed to open up Pier 42 by using some of the last unspent funds from the $20.4 billion in federal aid provided to rebuild Lower Manhattan after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.
"This is the missing link in the dream of having a ribbon park around Lower Manhattan," said Sen. Charles Schumer, who has been pressing for the funding. He said the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. was due to take up the new funding plan at a meeting on Monday.
The LMDC has been moving to reallocate unspent federal recovery funds to projects that can move forward despite the difficult economic environment.
"We are committed to an East River esplanade that is every bit as wonderful as the Hudson River Park, and this is an important step," said David Emil, the LMDC's president.
The $14 million will provide enough funds to demolish the building, which has been used in recent years as a parking garage and a storage site for movie productions. But it will not cover the cost of turning the pier into a park, which could cost a total of $40 million officials said.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who represents the area, said the initial grant would provide funds to allow the Parks Department to conduct a "community-based master plan process" for the final design of the pier. He said the demolition would likely be completed next year.
"It is a foot in the door," Mr. Squadron said.