Today’s news:

Thumbs up for Transmitter Park plans

At this month’s Community Board 1 meeting, residents embraced the Parks Department’s updated renderings for Transmitter Park, which will give Greenpoint residents rare access to the East River waterfront by 2010.

“I liked the plan. I saw nothing wrong with it,” said Greenpoint blogger Heather Letzkus said. Letzkus, also known as Miss Heather, is a member of Friends of Transmitter Park, which is part of the community coalition group Greenpoint Waterfront Association of Parks and Planning (GWAPP). “The fact is that we will have access to the water. It will be nice to see kids enjoying the park.”

The new renderings include a wooden pier that extends into the river and gives residents more access to different points of the water, with multiple views of the Manhattan skyline. The pier will feature several bridges and fish-cleaning pods as well as a number of places for fishing, kayak launches and a ferry landing for water taxi transportation to points across the city.

“We wanted to make the structure have a more naturalistic edge,” said Donna Walcavage, an architect with the landscape architecture firm EDAW.

Walcavage has been working on the site since her firm submitted a Request For Proposals to the Parks Department in 2004.

“People walking on it won’t necessarily be aware that it’s a different structure,” she said. “It’s to provide wider spaces for people to congregate or sit. We think it’s better environmentally as there will be fewer wood pilings going down into the water.”

The Parks Department and other city agencies have not determined where the proposed ferry will stop, but officials did say that the ferry “was always on the table” when a community member inquired about its presence.

“That’s the whole impetus of the pier,” said Martin Maher, chief of staff for the Parks Department in Brooklyn.

Barbara Vitell, a member of Friends of Transmitter Park and a Greenpoint resident, asked about planted islands that did not appear to be included in the most recent renderings of the park.

“It’s really beautiful, but I have concerns about the sandbox and the pier,” Vitell said. “People were excited when they saw the original design of this and it would be beautiful [to include the islands].”

(The islands were removed because they would not be conducive to sea life.)

Transmitter Park is the first of what are expected to be several parks projects that will give residents of Greenpoint access to the East River from Kent Street to Commercial Avenue.

Delays in the removal of a Department of Environmental Protection sludge tank and the relocation of an MTA bus maintenance site have prevented the completion of nearby Barge Park. A budget shortfall in City Council and unanticipated increases in project costs are being blamed for stalling development of the Bushwick Inlet Park on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint border. Construction for Transmitter Park is on track to begin in early 2009 with completion scheduled for the following summer.

“Right now there is a concrete structure at end of the street,” Walcavage said. “Taking down the bulkhead will give the waterfront a softer and friendlier edge.”

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