The section of the park built atop Pier 1 opened to the public on Monday, one week after the state agreed to give the city full control of the $350 million project. A second section of the 85-acre open space, Pier 6, is scheduled to open sometime this spring.
The finished pier has been radically transformed from its parking lot past. The site now features rolling green hills, a playground and a waterfront promenade with arresting views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. It immediately becomes one of the city's most spectacular open spaces.
“This park has been a dream for generations of Brooklynites,” Senator Daniel Squadron, who helped orchestrate the deal to bring the park under control of the city, said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the park. “Brooklyn Bridge Park is going to be a unique gem for the borough.”
When it is finished the 1.7-mile park will stretch from Atlantic Avenue to John Street, and include sports fields, indoor recreation and more. But tens of millions of dollars are still needed to pay for the project. And once it is completed, the city will face the challenge of finding a steady revenue stream to pay for park upkeep. It will cost an estimated $16 million per year to run the park.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would consider all funding options, including building upscale housing inside the park. The idea- to charge residents living in new housing inside the park a park maintenance fee in lieu of property taxes- is opposed by some community groups and lawmakers, including Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman.
Squadron said he remains hopeful alternative funding can be found, but the mayor hinted the chances of that happening aren't good. “We're not committed to housing,” Bloomberg said, but “we just don't have the money to do things that we used to do.”
“The city's got to find other ways to fund these things,” he added. (Daniel Bush)