Bronx River Greenway / Starlight Park Receive Top Design Award

Published on April 29, 2024, 11:47 pm
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NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that the new Starlight Park in the Bronx, a formerly paved, industrial property that has been transformed into a public park and vast greenspace with greenway connections in the Bronx, won the top award in the 2024 AIANY + ASLANY Transportation + Infrastructure Design Excellence Awards in the category of Open Space.

Starlight Park was fully opened to the public in April 2023 after the $41 million Phase 2 of the project converted an additional 2.7 acres of formerly paved, industrial property into a major greenspace expansion that included the closing of the last gap in the Bronx River Greenway. That project was managed by DDC for NYC Parks. Phase 1 of the work, which ended in 2013, was managed by the NYS Department of Transportation in partnership with NYC Parks and the Bronx River Alliance. The park was designed by NV5.

“The conversion of a barren industrialized landscape into a beautiful park connecting communities to each other and the Bronx River is one of DDC’s proudest accomplishments,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley. “This project closed a critical gap in the Bronx River Greenway, linking communities that had previously been isolated by highways and train lines. We thank AIANY and ASLANY for recognizing this remarkable project and congratulate the project team on yet another award.”

“The improvements to Starlight Park represent a crowning achievement for public greenspaces in the Bronx,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “A paved-over, formerly industrial area has been transformed into a vibrant park with new amenities for the community, new trees, a stronger shoreline, and an essential link to the Bronx River Greenway. We are grateful to AIANY and ASLANY for recognizing the project with this prestigious award, and to all our partners at the city, state, and federal levels who made these upgrades possible.”

To create the new park, Parks and DDC planted 140 new trees and close to 12,000 new shrubs to support the restoration of the Bronx River shoreline, including wetlands that improve water quality in the river and help to curtail erosion. New lighting was installed, several new retaining walls were constructed, a new dog run was built, 4,000 feet of new pathway was created, and drainage and electrical upgrades were made throughout various areas of the park. Additionally, a total of 50,000 tons of soil was removed and replaced to promote ecological health.

DDC’s work also included two new bridges that help to link the park to surrounding communities, one going over the Bronx River itself just north of Westchester Avenue and one going over railroad tracks owned by Amtrak at E. 172nd Street. New York State DOT built one new bridge spanning the river as part of the creation of Sheridan Boulevard, completed in 2019.

DDC also recently completed the Bronx River House in Starlight Park, which houses an environmental learning laboratory and operations for the Bronx River Alliance.

American Institute of Architects, New York, AIANY, and American Society of Landscape Architects, New York, ASLANY, received 37 entries in five categories: Open Space, Planning, Projects, Structures, and Student Work. The Starlight Park project received the Honor award, the highest level of achievement, for the Open Space category. The ten winning projects were selected by an independent jury of architects, landscape architects, and planners. The projects were evaluated based on its commitment to sustainability, community engagement, and civic architecture.

In 2021, Starlight Park also received the Envision Gold Award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) for restoring balance and reuniting communities, restoring the environment and stimulating economic prosperity and development.

The project to complete the park was made possible with extensive collaboration between NYC Parks, NYC DDC, U.S. Department of Transportation, NYS Department of Transportation, Amtrak, the Office of the Mayor, the Office of the Bronx Borough President, Con Edison, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and longtime Bronx River and community partners.

Image captions:

  • The new Starlight Park, which was a paved industrialized eyesore for decades, fully opened in April 2023 when the City completed Phase 2 of the project at a cost of $41 million.
  • A restored section of the Bronx River Greenway in Starlight Park.
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