Mayor: River park’s green should go to Governors Island

By Josh Rogers

Volume 21, Number 41 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | February 20 – 26, 2009

Mayor: River park’s green should go to Governors Island

Mayor Mike Bloomberg said Wednesday that he wants the state to shift some money from the Hudson River Park to fund the reopening of Governors Island this spring.

“We’re not walking away from Governors Island,” Bloomberg said Feb. 18 at a press conference. “The state has a commitment to fund half of it and they’re not coming up with monies…. We have talked to them about swapping some obligations that we’ve had that we’ve already funded.”

Asked by Downtown Express whether Hudson River Park was one of the obligations under consideration, the mayor said it was.

Like the Hudson River Park Trust, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. is a state-city public authority that receives equal funding from the state and city.

Both the state and city are facing multi-billion dollar budget deficits this year and have proposed cuts to many programs.

GIPEC officials said last month that they were hopeful the state would pony up about $6 million to match the city allocation, but if it did not, there would be no money to run the free ferry service and other island activities this season.

The Trust is currently working on the Tribeca and Chelsea sections of the riverside park but will need a few hundred million dollars more to finish the entire 5-mile long green space.

The mayor indicated he does not want to shift all money from the Hudson River Park.

“Hudson River Park is getting done — slower than I’d like but it is getting done,” he said.

The mayor also has personal ties to the park since his longtime female companion, Diana Taylor, is chairperson of the Trust.

A spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who successfully fought to include state funding for the park and island in last year’s budget, said Silver was optimistic the state will find money for both projects.

“Speaker Silver is working hard behind the scenes to ensure the programs at Governors Island and the Hudson River Park continue,” Jim Quent, the spokesperson, wrote in an email to Downtown Express.  “He understands how important these open space treasures are to so many members of his Lower Manhattan community.”