Brooklyn Heights will get an innovative $4.9-million footbridge that zigzags over streets and through buildings to connect the northern part of the neighborhood to one of the world’s most breathtaking parks.
The 400-foot timber structure will link Squibb Park, a sunken, half-acre cement park, to Brooklyn Bridge Park — giving pedestrians easier access to an oasis now cut off by the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
Last Monday, the Design Commission approved a preliminary plan — which is back on the table after a battle over funding.
Engineers are now planning a rot-resistant bridge that will descend 30 feet from the small park on Columbia Heights, over Furman Street, dropping off just west of the proposed salt marsh between Piers 1 and 2.
Made of black locust planks, the footbridge meanders through a site where a hotel will soon sprout — and is elegant enough to soften even the park’s toughest watchdogs.
“I’m happy to have the connection,” said Roy Sloane, who has long fought development inside the park. “But I do think the primary motivation is to make the hotel more desirable — not to give public access.”
Whatever the impetus, the footbridge was designed as throwback to old-time Brooklyn Heights by MacArthur “genius” Ted Zoli.
“The structural form relates to that of a gangway, a memory of Brooklyn Height’s past as a shipyard,” Zoli said. “Brooklyn Bridge Park has its own character, enriched by the use of repurposed artifacts.”
The new plans come after a bumpy battle for funding. In 2009, Mayor Bloomberg trimmed $8 million from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s construction budget, killing the footbridge.
But the following year, the City Council and Borough President Markowitz allocated enough money for the footbridge, which is scheduled to open next summer.
Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, is happy they did.
“It is a spectacular new park amenity,” she said.
©2011 Community News Group
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