Today’s news:

Brooklyn Bridge Park picks up national honor

A national organization recently bestowed Brooklyn Bridge Park with an award for their Comprehensive Waterfront Plans.

The Washington, DC-based non-profit Waterfront Center doled out the honor at their annual“Excellence on the Waterfront” international conference in Seattle, Washington.

“It’s deeply rewarding to have the Waterfront Center and its esteemed jury recognize the Master Plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park with this honor,” said Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Principal Michael Van Valkenburgh, who designed the park.

“The Master Plan evolved from an intensive dialogue with the communities and was shaped by the design team working in consultation with the client to resolve the unique geographic and micro-climatic challenges. The resulting plan provides the region with an extraordinary civic landscape, a testament to the sustained advocacy of its constituents.”

The award comes as the 85-acre park now being built, that stretches for 1.3 miles from just north of the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue, readies to open several sections in 2010.

This includes 9.5 acres around Pier 1 including 1,300 feet of promenade along the East River and 2.5 acres of lawn this winter.

Slated for a Spring 2010 opening is the area around Pier 6 where there will be 7 acres of new park, including a 1.6 acre destination playground with water play areas and innovative play equipment built into the park landscape. The area will also have three sand volleyball courts, a concession, dog run and a promenade.

Brooklyn Bridge Park was formally created in 2002 with $150 million in state and city funds with the mandate that it had to be self-sustainable.

This mandate led to the parks General Project Plan (GPP),which includes about 8.2 acres or about 10 percent of the park for private development to generate the estimated $15.2 million annual cost of operating and maintaining the park.

Since the initial funding the estimated cost of building the park has ballooned to $350 million.

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