For those of us in search of a salve for our communal soul and a strategy to cope with an all out assault on our environmental consciousness, I suggest that we have one of each in our backyard.
For the first time in our community’s decades-long effort to bring the Greenway to the Bronx, it feels like we finally have the wind at our backs. Last month, Governor Cuomo announced in one of six State of the State addresses that 2020 would be the year by which the 750-mile Empire State Trail would be complete. The governor’s $200 million plan ($53 million in this year’s budget) includes the completion of the Hudson River Greenway, which means that the historic path from Battery Park to Buffalo will run along the Riverdale shores of the majestic Hudson River.
Once complete, the Hudson River Greenway will provide an economic, cultural and recreational renaissance for the Northwest Bronx. A state report determined that the 50 percent complete Hudson River Valley Greenway “generates more than $21 million annually in economic impact from visitors stopping in communities” along its existing 130-miles of trail.
But make no mistake: there is much work to be done and many financial, logistical and emotional barriers to overcome. This is a pivotal year. Thanks to funds provided by state Sen. Jeffrey Klein, the MTA has engaged a consulting company to do an engineering study. This is another enormous step forward, but as individuals and as a community we must remain vigilant and engaged to ensure that the study’s focus is both achievable and in keeping with the vision outlined by Community Board 8.
Our local development corporation, KRVC is holding a Greenway meeting at 7 p.m. on March 20, 2017 at its new offices at 505 W. 236th St. to discuss the next steps we can and must take as a community to make this game-changing project a reality. I encourage all to attend.
I also suggest that if we seek to make 2020 a year of deliverance on a local and national level, we all need to roll up our sleeves and join the Greenway movement. In the spirit of Tip O’Neill’s famed axiom, “all politics is local,” let’s make the next four years (and beyond) about making our community an example of the true greatness of America.
After all, other than an “open door” or a “bridge,” what could be a better metaphor for ban-lifting and wall-smashing tolerance and understanding than a multi-use, ADA compliant, recreational path that connects communities?
Cliff Stanton, who serves as Greenway coordinator at the Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation, or KRVC, has submitted this article as his personal opinion, and not one presenting the views of KRVC. Point of View is a column open to all.