NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined NYC DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora, NYC DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd’s Senior Advisor Marianna Koval, Congressman José E. Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr., Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, and Bronx River Administrator Linda R. Cox to break ground on the Bronx River House at Starlight Park.
“The Bronx River House, which is environmentally-friendly in its design, will further link community involvement with the Bronx River.” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Amazing changes have been made to the restoration of the Bronx River in just a little over a decade. The new River House here at Starlight Park will provide new public amenities while serving as a headquarters for our partners at the Bronx River Alliance. Special thanks to all our partners at the State and City levels of government for partnering with us on this project.”
“This innovative building will be a great addition to Starlight Park and aid the staff of the Bronx River Greenway Alliance with the restoration of the Bronx River, said DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora. The building will have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment with a geothermal system to heat and cool the building and was designed with a vegetative wall which will provide shade for the building in the summer to keep it cool while also allowing sunlight in during the winter to heat the building.”
“River House represents another milestone in our progress to reclaim the river,” said Bronx River Administrator Linda Cox. “Once a dumping ground, today the river is a cherished community resource. Bronx River House will enable us to introduce thousands of youth and families to this amazing natural resource that flows right through the heart of Bronx.”
The new facility will be approximately 7,000 square feet and will feature a boat house, a nature classroom, and a multipurpose community room. The River House will feature energy efficient and water conservation elements, such as screen walls made of galvanized steel and mesh that wraps the entire building for vines to grow creating a favorable microclimate, transpiring water collected from the roof during hot months to significantly lower the air temperature around the building envelope. It also includes a ground source heat pump with radiant floor heating, a photovoltaic system mounted on the roof, and a rainwater harvesting system. When it is completed, it will be the headquarters for the Bronx River Alliance.
This $14.5 million project was made possible through a partnership of federal, state, and local agencies. $12 million was provided through the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and the Municipal Water Finance Authority in connection with the construction of the Croton Water Filtration Facility. Council Member Palma provided $500,000 in funding, The City Council Bronx Delegation provided $500,000 and Borough President Diaz allocated $500,000. There were additional grants of $500,000 from New York State, $280,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and $268,000 from NYC the Small Business Administration.
Starlight Park is located between the Bronx River and the Sheridan Expressway. Starlight Park includes a soccer field, basketball court, picnic areas, playgrounds, a multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians, and docks for canoeing and boating. It is part of the continuous greenway being built along the Bronx River which will stretch for 20 miles from the East River north to Kensico Dam in Westchester.
The Department of Design and Construction is managing the project and Kiss + Cathcart Architects are the architects.