A proposed park for the Bronx could take over a run-down area along a stretch of abandoned railroad tracks soon if Mayor de Blasio okays the plan. Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. is backing the proposal, calling for the mayor to grant his blessing for an area in Mott Haven that is currently occupied by a homeless encampment to be transformed into a new green space for the public. Clean-up efforts have recently improved some areas near St. Ann’s Ave. at East 150th Street, but Diaz is calling for a more permanent solution to make the neighborhood enjoyable for residents and visitors again.
The park would be somewhat similar to the High Line Park in Manhattan, but it wouldn’t be elevated as the railroad tracks have actually sunken into the ground. Diaz feels that transforming the area into a public park would be a solution to ridding the neighborhood of the undesirable activities currently taking place there, which he calls “a considerable nuisance to the local community.”
Diaz went on to call for additional housing near the existing rail line and the construction of a park that could be “a model for the future reuse of the miles of essentially abandoned railway that is spread across the five boroughs.” Diaz envisions that someday, each borough would have its own High Line-style park, making use of abandoned railroad tracks to connect green spaces throughout the city.
Turning the problematic section of railway into a public park will take more than a thumbs up from city officials, though. The 30 block section of the trails, running between Mott Haven and Melrose, are currently owned by railroad company CSX. In order to turn it into a city park, the city would have to buy the land or seize it, and at this time the cost to do so is unknown.
Images via Ruben Diaz Jr.’s Facebook page and Curbed