At the hearing on the legislation, Matt Drury, the director of the government relations for the Parks Department, could not provide a timeline for the city’s plan.
"This is a massive and complicated undertaking. The city wants to make sure this is fully thought out," he said.
Johnson, who visited the island last year and noted it is mostly likely the largest gravesite for victims of the AIDS epidemic, said the city’s proposal could take over a decade. He called on the Parks Department, DOC and the Department of Human Resources to come back to the Council in 30 days with interim solutions for visitors while the bills are being worked on.
"The public has waited far too long for proper access," he said.
Melinda Hunt, the founding director of the Hart Island Project, which has been chronicling the stories of the New Yorkers buried in the cemetery, also criticized the city’s proposal for the island. She urged the Council to push forward with its package.
"This will greatly destigmatize the burials and help communities across the region reconcile the deaths of their friends and family members," she said.