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June 25th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

An amendment to the Hudson River Park Act was passed through the State Senate Tuesday that will allow the Gansevoort Peninsula and parts of Hudson River Park to be used for a recycling and transfer station. Formerly, the Act restricted the property to parkland.

The location of the waste transfer station, a 1.4 acre piece of land, has been controversial since it was proposed by the Bloomberg Administration and the City Council over three years ago, and has divided many local and state politicians. Opponents included local district Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Richard Gottfried, who according to the Villager wrote a joint letter in 2006 to the council that said “any solid-waste management plan that include a Gansevoort facility is simply unrealistic,” and, “violates the letter of the statute and the clear intent of the [Hudson River Park Act] legislation.”

According to Michael Kramer, a member of the Friends of Hudson Square Sanitation Steering Committee, “I’m glad that there’s closure…maybe the Friends of Hudson River who have been holding garage relocation hostage to that issue—and perhaps we as well—can move forward so they can ease off their timeline and let the Commissioner of Sanitation do his job for the city.”

The Friends of the Hudson River Park have been the foremost advocates of relocating the sanitation station. Among other efforts, they fought for alternative sites for the marine transfer station–including Block 675 on W. 30th St. between 11th and 12th Avenues, which was rejected by the city. Pier 76 was also investigated. Proponents for this site argued it is twice as large as Gansevoort and more appropriate. However, this was also rejected.

According to one source, however, the Friends of the Hudson River Park have only made veiled attempts at finding a better destination for relocation. The source argued that the group’s research was insufficient and accused them of misappropriation of funds.

Albert Butzel, former head of Friends of the Hudson River Park, vehemently disputes these claims, saying, “They don’t know what they’re talking about. We have offered detailed studies by the foremost marine engineering companies in the country and pier 76 would not only be feasible but preferable.”

Butzel went on to say, “We’ve lost the battle but we’ll win the war. The mayor will process more garbage through his kitchen disposal than will ever be handled at Gansevoort.”

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