Staten Island's Fresh Kills landfill undergoing transformation into park

Turns out the High Line isn’t the only green space reclamation project going on in New York City: on Staten Island, the Department of Parks and Recreation, along with a host of other city and state agencies, is getting started on transforming the Fresh Kills landfill into a park. When completed in 2036, Freshkills Park “will be almost three times the size of Central Park and the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years.”

In creating the park’s master plan, developers kept the unique nature of the site in mind: it wasn’t that long ago that Fresh Kills was the largest landfill in the United States. Closed in 2001 (and briefly reopened to accept waste from the September 11 attacks), planners wanted the park to not only serve as natural and recreational space, but to also highlight the transformation of the landfill back to green space: “…the park’s design, ecological restoration and cultural and educational programming will emphasize environmental sustainability and a renewed public concern for our human impact on the earth.”

Among the features planned for the new park:

  • Five parks in one: Freshkills Park will have five distinct areas with playing fields, biking and walking trails, and public art installations.
  • Renewable energy: The Department of Sanitation is already harvesting landfill gas from the site. Further developments will build on this precedent, and feature a variety of renewable energy technologies.
  • Green building: The DPR plans to use LEED standards as its guidelines for new building in the park.
  • Natural habitat: The Park’s master plan ranks renewed habitat for plants and wildlife as highly as development of recreational spaces and roadways.

While the entire project will take decades to complete, some elements of Freshkills Park should be ready to go by late 2010.

Been to Fresh Kills? Followed the plans for the new park? Let us know what you think about it in the comments…

Image credit: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Fresh Perspectives newsletter