An environmental celebration will take place on Saturday at 11 a.m. with Borough President James Molinaro, City Councilman James Oddo (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), and officials from the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) gathering alongside neighborhood residents to erect a Bluebelt sign in Whitney Woods, at the corner of Parkinson and Whitney avenue, according to the Staten Island Advance.
The city acquired the 1.5-acre wooded parcel on May 2, in the successful culmination of a campaign to save the environmentally sensitive land from construction of up to 70 residential units. The move preserves the property as forever-wild open space, part of the Richmond Creek watershed that includes Grasmere, Old Town, Arrochar, and South Beach.
“We have seen too many of our green spaces on Staten Island pillaged by inappropriate development,” said Oddo. “That is why this victory is so sweet.
“We are literally preventing the potential development of 70 housing units in a pristine green space and protecting the local community by ensuring that Whitney Woods acts as a stormwater drainage and management area,” he added.
“The preservation of Whitney Woods is good news for the Bluebelt and good news for Staten Island,” said Molinaro, noting that Staten Island has many locations where development has increased flooding. “We acquired Whitney Woods, preserved the wetlands, and helped make the neighborhood much more secure from flooding,” he said.
The land was purchased for $2.735 million. Oddo contributed $1.45 million from his City Council budget, Molinaro another $985,000 from his borough president budget, and DEP kicked in $300,000.
The property is generally bounded by the bed of unbuilt Whitney Avenue from Parkinson to Woodlawn avenues, and the bed of unbuilt Woodlawn Avenue from Whitney to Leslies avenues, as well as privately owned lots bounded by Marie Street and Woodlawn and Leslie Avenues.
Visitors can easily access Whitney Woods from dead-end Whitney Avenue, off Clove Road , and from the dead-end of Whitney Avenue at the corner of Parkinson Avenue.
Staten Island Advance - May 9, 2012 - By Virginia N. Sherry