The state legislature has approved Governor Cuomo’s pledge of $50 million towards the completion of the Hudson River Park, but the giving comes with one major caveat: The city must match the funds in order to receive the state aid.
The contingency is the latest in the tit-for-tat between the governor and Mayor de Blasio, who have been feuding over their respective fiscal responsibilities to NYCHA and the subway, and puts the 20-year-old unfinished joint venture between the city and state back into the spotlight.
The funding would go towards completing a section of the park stretching from Battery Park City to West 59th Street, The Real Deal says, including the stretch of park that’s long been eyed for Pier 55. The pier’s chief benefactor, billionaire Barry Diller, pulled his fiscal support for the park, effectively ending it, in September 2017 citing “the huge escalating costs and the fact it would have been a continuing controversy over the next three years.” The estimated cost of the park had ballooned from $35 million to $250 million by the time Diller pulled the plug.
That controversy stems from a series of lawsuits lobbed by the small civic group The City Club of New York, who had been acting under the surreptitious funding of developer Douglas Durst. The two sides came to a consensus in October 2017 after the intervention of Governor Cuomo, greenlighting the pier once more.
That deal, however, may be in jeopardy if the city doesn’t match the state’s $50 million contribution. But as TRD notes, that doesn’t seem to be the case. “We are happy to work in consultation with the state, and we have agreed to match the funding for this park,” said Melissa Grace, a spokesperson for the mayor.
Despite the $100 million pledge from both sides, the park is still short of the funding it needs for completion. The Hudson River Park Trust says it will take $619 million to finish off the miles-long waterfront park.
“We are grateful for the $50 million promised by the governor and approved by the state Legislature,” Hudson River Park Friends executive director Connie Fishman said in a statement quoted by The Villager. “Combined with the potential funds from the sale of [park] air rights, this will go a long way toward completing the park’s northern section.”