Starlight Park is the result of a decades-long community-driven planning effort by federal, state, and local partners, including NYC Parks, NYCDDC, NYSDOT, Bronx River Alliance, and others. The project transforms a 25-acre brownfield, in a historically marginalized area, into a resilient public amenity, and closes an important gap in the 25-mile Bronx River Greenway (BRG). NV5 has been involved with the Project from inception, originally tasked with developing the Master Plan and then subsequently design and construction support services for the entire 25-acre park and greenway. Located behind private properties and with no road frontage, the site was inaccessible to the community. The site is bifurcated by the Bronx River winding through it and the CSX/Amtrak rail cutting it in half. High bedrock elevation, the presence of hazardous materials, and environmental constraints along the tidal river all added complexity. The design had to work around numerous immovable obstructions, while meeting the latest PROWAG standards. The Greenway path was especially challenging, as it crosses over the Bronx River multiple times and the Amtrak corridor. The Amtrak corridor pedestrian bridge required a reduced clearance waiver to ensure the path was ADA-compliant. The substantial change in elevation required a series of curved retaining walls and enormous amounts of imported fill material to create subgrade for the path. Starlight Park received a ‘Design Excellence’ award from NYC PDC, a NYSDOT ‘Greenlights’ Award, and an Envision “Gold” Award for sustainability. Starlight Park was cited by ISI as a project which is reuniting communities, restoring the environment, and stimulating economic prosperity. This project reduces the vulnerability of Bronx communities from future storms, significantly contributes to the ecological restoration of the Bronx River, and reduces the risk of human exposure to toxic substances by removing contaminated soils. There is no connection to the City’s sewer system, but rather, the project applies stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as rain gardens and infiltration basins to capture and filter 100 percent of runoff. This project connects the BRG to Concrete Plant Park (South and Bronx Park (Bronx Zoo/Botanical Garden) to the north. The park connects to the NYCT 2,5 Trains at West Farms Square (north) and the #6 train at Whitlock Avenue (south), as well as numerous regular and express bus lines running on East Tremont and Westchester Avenues, north and south, respectively. Two new narrow corridor connections built between private properties facing Bronx River Avenue, together with the new bridge over the Amtrak corridor, provides new access to the park for the entirety of the Soundview community, a neighborhood significantly lacking access to quality public open space. Twenty-four percent of the shoreline (205 feet of 865 feet) has been pulled back from the existing mean higher high water mark, and concrete bulkheads were demolished in order to create 4,170 square feet of restored tidal wetland. In addition, 1.75 acres of wildflowers; more than 3,500 shrubs; nearly 200 trees; 2,000 groundcover and vine plantings; and more than 30,000 wetland grasses have been planted.


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