The proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park has been at least a decade in the planning process, and it’s been about two years since it received the necessary public approvals. Controversy has been a constant on the joint city/state project, and costs have exploded well beyond the budget. Yet today, a city and state board actually approved a construction contract, clearing the way for the first section of the park, Pier 1, to open by the end of next year.
The $47 million contract with construction giant Skanska USA would create 9.5 acres of new park–mostly a grassy area, according to the state–on Pier 1.
Given a rise in costs, there still is not full funding for the parkland, which was ultimately planned to be 85 acres. The Brooklyn Paper reported earlier this month that the signature floating walkways at the park had been removed from plans, as the city and state development agencies apparently abandoned their attempts to convince the state Department of Environmental Conservation to soften its objections to the walkways. The state agency has said they are illegal, in large part due to new shadows they would create over the water that could potentially affect marine life below.
Planned, controversial housing developments within the boundaries of the parkland also have yet to begin. Payments from the housing would fund the maintenance of the parkland.
At the meeting where the contract was approved, the governing board also allocated another $35 million from the city.