Volume 17 • Issue 21 | October 15 - 21, 2004

Downtown Express photo by Jennifer Bodrow

Tennis on the Hudson River Park’s new courts near Spring St.

L.M.D.C. leader says more Hudson Park money is likely

By Josh Rogers

The chairperson of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation said Tuesday that the agency was looking to fund at least part of the Downtown section of the park.

“The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. has a great partnership with the Hudson River Park Trust and we are supporting a number of your activities and will be supporting more,” John Whitehead, the chairperson, said at a ceremony opening three new tennis courts in the park. “Next week and next month there will be other developments that take place, other things that are done and pretty soon this whole park will circle all of Lower Manhattan.”

The Trust, which like the development corporation is a joint state-city agency, has applied for $70 million in L.M.D.C. money for the Tribeca section of the riverside park.

Gov. George Pataki, who appointed Whitehead, was also at the ceremony and reiterated his enthusiasm for building the park. As he was leaving, he told Downtown Express “we’re working on it” when asked if he would direct the L.M.D.C. to spend the $70 million.

Connie Fishman, Trust president, said several weeks ago that she expected to have the L.M.D.C. money by November.

At the opening ceremony, Pataki told members of the Stuyvesant High School tennis team: “Our pledge to you is that this is not the end, this is just the beginning. This magnificent park you see rising from the Battery along the West Side is not going to stop until it stretches for the length of the West Side. We are going to have what I have called time and again the Central Park of the 21st century.”

The Trust needs about $200 million to build the rest of the $400-million park. Pataki has never identified where he expects to get the rest of the money and if the L.M.D.C. approves $70 million, it will still leave a $130 million gap.

The three courts near Spring St. were paid for out of a $2.6 million L.M.D.C. grant. They replace the two temporary courts that were in Battery Park City. The courts were scheduled to be demolished October 2001 to make room for the neighborhood’s permanent ballfields. The 2001 terrorist attack delayed the plan. The plan was to rebuild tennis courts somewhere in the Hudson River Park, but no specific site had been selected until earlier this year.

The hard-surface courts are free and there is a one-hour time limit if people are waiting.


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