City Seeks Designers for Park on Governors Island
The city is moving to select a design team for a 40-acre public park, a two-mile waterfront promenade, and open space on Governors Island.
Yesterday, a city-state agency, Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, issued a request for qualifications from architects to build parks that would transform the island into “a significant, attractive and unique destination with authentic New York character.”
Visitors would reach the island by ferry or gondola, the documents said, and “the destination and experiences offered there must justify the effort of the journey.”
The proposed park would be located on the waterfront at the island’s southern edge and contain least 20 contiguous acres, according to the city-state agency. It could accommodate recreational uses, or “temporary festival activities,” like concerts, festivals and performances.
The city and state are also looking for a design of a new public waterfront promenade that would encircle the island and provide “one of the world’s most extraordinary, distinct, and enchanting walks,” with views of the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Earlier this year, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation issued a request for proposals from private developers to transform for the 172-acre former military base in New York Harbor into a worldclass destination that would be self-sustaining. The city and state acquired it from the federal government for $1 in 2003, but it costs millions each year to maintain the island. Ten finalists were selected, including proposals for a Nickelodeon theme park and a campus for CUNY, but no winner has been selected.
The executive director of the Governor’s Island Alliance, a coalition of civic groups, Robert Pirani, said that those proposals have likely been put on the back burner, but could be revived next year. He said that settling on a park design would help to distill those ideas and give private developers more information to work with.
“What will make the island work is providing greater amenities and access. That will drive private developers to consider investing in the island. The park is the key element in that,” Mr. Pirani said.
Designs from architects are due by mid-November, and the city will select five finalists to participate in a public design competition next spring. Their responses will be used to help choose a project architect as early as next summer.
By DAVID LOMBINO – Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 24, 2006