2008-01-04 / Community

Gateway Park Redevelopment Enters New Phase

By Howard Schwach

The proposed jetties and piers from the "Mapping The Ecotone" plan that recently won a redesign contest hosted by the National Parks Conservation Association. The proposed jetties and piers from the "Mapping The Ecotone" plan that recently won a redesign contest hosted by the National Parks Conservation Association. The first phase of the "Envisioning Gateway" redevelopment program that may one day change the face of our local national park has ended with the completion of the public comment segment of the program.

In June, the National Parks Coservation Association panel chose a winner of its design contest from among 100 entries from 23 nations.

The winner, chosen by a distinguished panel of architects, landscape experts and conservationists, turned out to be a team from Brooklyn, Ashley Scott Kelly and Rikako Wakabayashi, recent graduates of the University of Michigan.

Since June, the organization has been seeking public comment about the winning proposal, entitled "Mapping the Ecotone: Connecting Cities and Nature," and four runners-up. That public comment period ended on December 31, with more than 1,000 people speaking up about their personal choices for the final proposal. That proposal will be made to officials of the National Park Service for inclusion in its 2009 plans for the park.

"The judges were impressed with the winning proposal, which not only takes into consideration the shifts that Gateway will see over the next few decades, but focuses on those shifts to engage and enlighten the public about the larger issues at stake," said a conservation association spokesperson. "As described by the designers, the system of jetties and piers they propose will establish a sense of place prepared to mark the future of our natural environment."

The two winners, in a prepared statement, said "What was so appealing about [the contest] was its scope, its relevance to our life as a local project, and the fact that NIPCA was specifically looking for a design of a new type of urban park that would impact Greater New York and model new possible relationships between {New York City] and nature. We designed a park that addresses the local user, the regional system of salt marshes and the ideas about existing in our changing global environment."

In the next phase, officials of the NIPCA will present the plan to a committee of National Park Service officials in Washington, D.C.

Following that presentation, those NPS officials will determine if the plan, or portions of the plan, will fit its vision for Gateway National Park.

Those determinations will then find their way into the 2009 Management Plan for Gateway.

Local park officials declined to comment on the plans or on whether they would be included in the upcoming management plan.

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