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Staten Island's Fresh Kills landfill is officially on its way to becoming a public park

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Work is now underway on a 21-acre section of the former landfill

A rendering of North Park
NYC Parks.

Construction is now underway on the first major section of Staten Island’s landfill-turned-park, Freshkills Park. The city held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday inside the boundaries of the former Fresh Kills Landfill, for what will soon be North Park.

While parts of the overall Freshkills Park are already open to the public, this will be the very first section within the former landfill site to open to the public as a park. Being built at just under $30 million, this section will feature multiple-use pathways, a seven-acre seed farm, a picnic lawn, a deck overlooking the waterfront, a bird observation tower, and a composting comfort station, among many other features.

“This is a tremendous milestone for the city and land reclamation efforts worldwide,” said NYC Parks Commission, Mitchell Silver, in a statement.

Over the past few years, the city’s sanitation department has been cleaning and prepping the site for the Parks Department to take over and start construction. They installed various environmental management systems to ensure that it was safe for the Parks Department to move forward.

The North Park will open to the public in 2020, but it’s only a small piece of the massive Fresh Kills Park that’s still decades in the making. When complete (approximately in 2036) the park will span 2,200 acres, making it almost three times the size of Central Park. It’s divided into five sections: the Confluence, South Park, East Park, West Park, and North Park. Some parts of the overall park like Schmul Park, and Owl Hollow Soccer Fields, have already opened to the public.