New signs of life at Bridge ‘Park’

New signs of life at Bridge ‘Park’
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

The proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park showed new signs of life last week as officials moved to take the reins of its first piece of actual parkland — the existing Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park.

The management breakthrough came weeks after the first signs of life — literal life — took root on what will become an 85-acre park and condo project. A mini-forest of almost 500 magnolias, lindens, serviceberries, sweetgums, London planes catalpas and oaks now stands in a nursery midway along Furman Street between Old Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue.

The trees are slated to be planted in the fall on the northern and southern ends of the park development.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, a state body roused from years of a sub-performing slumber, revealed at its board meeting last Wednesday that it had signed a 99-year lease, effective next year, with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to run the existing Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in DUMBO.

It is one of the few instances when a state park agency has given up management of a park to a state development agency. However unique, the move was expected because the Civil War-era Empire Stores warehouse, which is part of Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, will someday be renovated and turned into a revenue-producing development that will underwrite some maintenance costs for the entire park development.

Eventually, Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, which is home to the popular “Movies with a View” summer series, will be subsumed into the entire $350-million Brooklyn Bridge Park, as pieces of it are created on piers and uplands stretching south to Atlantic Avenue.

The first phase of newly built green areas are due to open at the end of this year on Pier 1, at the foot of Old Fulton Street, and Pier 6, near the end of Atlantic Avenue.