This morning I attended a briefing sponsored by the Municipal Art Society, about the ambitious plan to convert the former Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island into one of the city's greatest parks. According to Wikipedia, its harsh name comes from its location along the Fresh Kills estuary. The landfill closed in 2001, and covered 45% of the site. Creeks, wetlands, and dry lowland make up the remainder of the land.
Following the World Trade Center attack, the landfill was re-opened to accommodate debris from the Trade Center. Some family members have sued the city, claiming that the remains of their loved ones are mixed within the debris.
As the lawsuit proceeds, planning for the park continues. At 2,200 acres (2.5 times the size of Central Park), there is lots of room to be creative. Many great proposals are under consideration. Soccer fields will be part of the mix, which is important because there are not enough fields in the city today. A September 11 memorial will provide a poignant view of Lower Manhattan. The city's Fresh Kills web site provides a wealth of information.
The timeline for completion is 20-30 years; basically, as long as I've been alive. That astounded me. In addition to the concerns of the September 11 families, this project might languish due to inertia and different priorities of future political leaders. I hope that it succeeds despite all obstacles. What I heard today sounded even more majestic than Central Park.