Why should Manhattan hog all the fun? Staten Island may soon get a “High Line” of its own. Much like the OG linear park in Chelsea, which was constructed on an elevated section of a historic freight rail line, the proposed North Shore High Line could sprout from a similarly abandoned set of tracks in Port Richmond. The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit group that advocates for the borough’s economic development, has issued an open call for ideas. “Realizing we have this long abandoned North Shore Rail Line, I wanted to look into how we could replicate what they did in Manhattan,” Cesar Claro, president and CEO of the SIEDC, told SILive. “We met with Friends of the High Line in Manhattan … and came up with a plan using the Manhattan High Line as the roadmap, and it will start with a design competition.”
A North Shore High Line along the half-mile stretch between Richmond Terrace at Heberton Avenue to Nicholas Avenue would not only rehabilitate what is currently an illegal dumping ground, but it could also pose an “unprecedented economic and recreational opportunity,” according to Salvatore Calcagno, Jr., SIEDC’s ambassador for the project.
“Based on the success of the High Line on the West Side of Manhattan, we believe that activating the dormant line in a similar fashion can be a transformative project for the area. We hope this leads to an active public space along the line,” Calcagno said.
A 2014 University of California, San Diego study showed that Manhattan’s High Line boosted the prices of adjacent homes by as much as 10 percent. “If our high line is half as successful as Manhattan’s, it will be a major boon to the community,” Calcagno added.
Designers who want a shot at $10,000 in prize money have until April 7 to submit a proposal to the SIEDC, which will put the entries to a public vote before announcing the winner at its annual conference on April 27.
Claro, the president of the SIEDC, says he hopes to be able to work with local officials to fund the project, which could run up to some $30 million. But even if greenlit, such a scheme would take years, perhaps even decades, to come to fruition.
“Keep in mind Manhattan’s High Line took 20 years from idea to creation,” Claro said.