East River waterfront park efforts in progress

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The State Parks Department recently announced plans to begin work on a “Master Plan” for the renovation of East River State Park, the waterfront park on Kent Avenue between North Seventh and Ninth streets, sometime in 2009.

The renovation of the park can begin only after the completion of the Master Plan, which must include an Environmental Impact Statement and a site investigation report and must also undergo a public hearing.

State Parks Department spokesperson Rachel Gordon said Master Plans generally take between 12 to 18 months to complete. Gordon would not commit to any construction timeline after the plan is completed.

“All that it will mean is that we will have a Master Plan. It doesn’t mean that we can pay for it, or that we’ll start work on it immediately,” she said.

The park opened to the public in scruffy, un-renovated form last May, in the process becoming the first park on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront, which will soon be filled with 2.6 miles of continuous parkland.

Last September, a team of Williamsburg-based architects presented an ambitious design for the park’s future at a Brooklyn Brewery gathering.

A synthesis of the winning designs of a two-year competition that began in 2003, the proposal was met favorably by both neighborhood residents and the urban design community.

It called for the park to be eco-friendly and independent from the city’s electrical grid. It would be powered by wind-turbines and solar panels housed on “eco-islands” in the East River.

It would also contain an on-site machine that would treat rainwater and dirty water, which would then be used to water the park’s plantings or returned to the East River via newly installed wetlands.

The park would also accommodate a range of passive recreational uses.

In addition, it would highlight the shoreline with a bed of sand that would give way to gabion “tidal stairs” leading down to the water.

“It’s a real outside-the-box park

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