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Release Date: October 16, 2011


Earlier this week President Obama approved Governor Cuomo’s request to expedite the construction of a new Tappan Zee bridge to replace the aging existing bridge. I am planning to form a committee to press NY State officials NOT TO demolish the old bridge when the new bridge is constructed and to turn the old Tappan Zee bridge into a suburban version of the NYC high line. If you are interested in joining the committee that is being formed to turn the old TZ bridge into a high line please e mail me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com. Our first meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 16th at Greenburgh Town Hall in the cafeteria (177 Hillside Ave) at 8 PM.

This proposal will save NYS many hundreds of millions of dollars since the state will not have to demolish the old bridge once the new bridge is built. The proposal to turn the bridge into a highline will make the bridge construction more exciting for environmentalists. The proposed new bridge does not include any initiative to promote public transportation (rail or rapid bus transportation-as was originally suggested). The old bridge will be used by pedestrians, cyclists, tourists. This concept will connect Westchester and Rockland together like it never has been connected—it will be more convenient for residents of both counties to walk or cycle across the bridge—to shop in local stores that they would never have patronized. The proposal to create a high line will encourage more tourism in our area. Tourists will take the train to Westchester so they can enjoy the high line experience.

The NYC high line is a public park built on a a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure running from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street on Manhattan's West Side.

The High Line was a freight rail line, in operation from 1934 to 1980. It carried meat to the meatpacking district, agricultural goods to the factories and warehouses of the industrial West Side, and mail to the Post Office. The High Line, south of West 30th Street, is owned by the City of New York and is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks & Recreation. It was donated to the City by CSX Transportation, Inc. which still owns the northernmost section (West 30th Street - West 34th Street).The land beneath the High Line is owned in parcels by New York State, New York City, and more than 20 private property owners.

In NYC a Friends of the High Line has been formed to build and maintain an extraordinary public park on the High Line. They seek to preserve the entire historic structure, transforming an essential piece of New York's industrial past. They provide over 70 percent of the High Line's annual operating budget and are responsible for maintenance of the park, pursuant to a license agreement with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Through stewardship, innovative design and programming, and excellence in operations, they cultivate a vibrant community around the High Line. I anticipate that a Tappan Zee high line will receive most of their funding, once established, from a similar Friends group.

The High Line is a monument to the industrial history of New York's West Side. It offers an opportunity to create an innovative new public space, raised above the city streets, with views of the Hudson River and the city skyline. It also offers a hopeful model for industrial reuse for other cities around the world.

How was the High Line saved from demolition?

Friends of the High Line was founded in 1999 by two neighborhood residents, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, when the High Line was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line successfully worked with the administration of Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council to reverse a City policy favoring demolition. The High Line is preserved through a Federal mechanism called rail-banking in which preserves transportation corridors and allows them to be used as trails.

The public space blends plant life (reminiscent of the quiet contemplative nature of the self-seeded landscape and wild plantings that once grew on the unused High Line) with long, narrow "planks," forming a smooth, linear, virtually seamless walking surface. The public environment on the High Line contain special features, including a water feature, viewing platforms, a sundeck, and gathering areas to be used for performances, art exhibitions and educational programs.

I am very excited about this initiative. It will make living in Greenburgh, Westchester more fun! And a fun county is good for property values because quality of life factors into decisions—where to buy homes or open up businesses.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor

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