Press Release Article


Date: Feb 24, 2004
Press Release Number: 19-2004

Tract is First to be Acquired Under $60 Million Port Authority Program

The Port Authority has acquired 9.7 acres of environmentally valuable land on Staten Island’s North Shore, which will be preserved for public use by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, New York Governor George E. Pataki announced today.

The property, known as the Blissenbach Marina or North Shore Waterfront Park, is located between Richmond Terrace and Tompkins Court in the West Brighton neighborhood. It will provide Staten Island residents with waterfront access and outstanding views of ship traffic traveling along the Kill van Kull, Governor Pataki said.

The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation organization, negotiated the Staten Island land purchase for preservation on behalf of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation in cooperation with the Port Authority. The Department of Parks & Recreation will conduct a study to determine the best public use for the land.

The property was acquired under a $60 million program designed to help the Port Authority balance its redevelopment plans with the need to preserve critical habitats and waterfront areas for public use in New York and New Jersey. The properties considered for the program are sites that environmental groups have identified as candidates for preservation, and are required to meet at least one of several criteria, including the ability to provide public access to waterfront areas; the ability to provide buffer areas around existing Port Authority facilities; and the ability to preserve key natural resource areas.

Governor Pataki said, “Working closely with environmental groups, we will continue to identify key tracts, such as the Blissenbach Marina, that will provide access to the waterfront and improve ecologically sensitive areas for future generations. The Staten Island waterfront is a regional treasure and we must do whatever we can to preserve sections of it for public use.”

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “I am grateful to the Port Authority for the acquisition of this valuable property. This new City parkland will provide needed waterfront access to the North Shore community as well as enhance the area’s natural habitat, and is consistent with our efforts to reclaim the City’s waterfront for recreational use.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Given the rapid rate of growth of Staten Island’s North Shore, we must do whatever we can to balance the rapid rate of development with the need to preserve critical tracts of land along the waterfront. The acquisition of this property will enhance the quality of life for all of those who live and work in the area.”

Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “The acquisition and preservation of this waterfront property continues to demonstrate the Port Authority’s ongoing commitment to Staten Island. The Port Authority will invest $350 million to upgrade the New York Marine Terminal at Howland Hook, and the agency also is beginning a major initiative to explore the long-term future of the Goethals Bridge, a key crossing that transports Staten Island residents to and from New Jersey.”

Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro said, “I congratulate the Port Authority for acquiring this important area. It is admirable that they are donating this land to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. The North Shore community has long sought to create a vibrant waterfront park and I am thrilled that this area will be preserved for the betterment of Staten Island.”

U.S. Congressman Vito Fossella said, “This acquisition will help protect and preserve 9.7 acres of open space on Staten Island. It also will prevent the development of some of Staten Island’s most precious natural resources on the North Shore. This initiative, along with ongoing rezoning initiatives, will further protect our community from overdevelopment by preserving acres of waterfront property. I would like to thank the Port Authority and the many groups involved in this project for their commitment to our shared goal of protecting open space in our community.”

New York City Councilman Michael McMahon said, “The purchase and transfer of these nine acres of beautiful waterfront is a tremendous victory for all advocates who have fought to preserve and create the North Shore Waterfront and Greenbelt. We Staten Islanders are grateful to the Port Authority and the Parks Department for their action and look forward to creating a spectacular marina and park.”

State Senator Seymour P. Lachman said, “My constituents and I are grateful to the Port Authority for its acquisition of environmentally valuable land and its subsequent transfer to the City Parks Department. The preservation of beautiful waterfront lands for public use is of great importance to the generations of today and tomorrow.”

Assemblyman John Lavelle said, “All Staten Islanders deserve access to their waterfront. The Port Authority has acquired the Blissenbach Marina and it will be developed by the City of New York into the North Shore Waterfront Park under the auspices of the City Department of Parks & Recreation. This park borders an economically disadvantaged community, so it is especially significant that the Port Authority’s actions will give the local residents waterfront access.”

New York City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe said, “The Port Authority’s generous support is helping to preserve New York City’s treasured waterfront and open a window for public access. We are also grateful to the Trust for Public Land for successfully negotiating this acquisition, as well as to the Harbor Estuary Program’s Habitat Working Group and local groups who lent their support.”

The Port Authority will continue to work with the Harbor Estuary Program’s Habitat Working Group, the Trust for Public Land and others to preserve additional sites under the program.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.