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Construction begins on $46M park project along NYC waterfront

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Construction began Thursday on a project to revitalize and transform an industrial waterfront in Manhattan into a new public park.

Video Transcript

- Well, a stretch of waterfront of the East River has been empty for years, a prized piece of real estate that could bring in millions' worth of high-rise developments. But it's also flood prone. Well, now the beginning of the transformation of Pier 42 Park today. The nearly $50 million project not only giving access to residents, but also shoring up water-ravaged areas with new seawalls. Here's Lauren Glassberg with a look.

LAUREN GLASSBERG: For years, this stretch along the East River has been a wasteland, made even worse by Superstorm Sandy. Residents nearby knew the potential for the land. And now, finally, change laps along the shore.

DANIEL BRADLEY: In the future, they're gonna have a nice sea rail on top of that, and there will be an esplanade and a sitting area.

LAUREN GLASSBERG: The $46 million plan is known as Pier 42 Park. It will include an upgraded seawall, sewage lines, pathways, plantings, ball fields, and a playground, 8 acres in all.

MITCHELL SILVER: This could have easily been a mixed use development that blocked access to the waterfront, but this city said, no. We're going to take our best land and give it to the public to enjoy.

LAUREN GLASSBERG: A public that has long been left out of the kind of riverfront development that stretches along the Hudson River.

NANCY ORTIZ: This community has been disenfranchised for years.

LAUREN GLASSBERG: Nancy Ortiz is a community advocate and thrilled that her Lower East Side neighborhood, which is on the waterfront, will now have access to the waterfront.

NANCY ORTIZ: My vision is, is that the community finally has a safe place to sit, to enjoy the waterfront, to have the flood protection. Our children can play in a decent, clean, new park.

The build, though, will be completed in two phases. The first, the ball fields and the pier front will be done in the summer of 2022. And then the playground and a recreation deck will be completed the following summer. All of it game-changing for the residents who live here.