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New York’s largest state park to open in Brooklyn in 2019

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New York State governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the first phase of a landmark project to open the region's largest state park will be completed by mid-2019.

Sitting on a 407-acre piece of land in the Jamaica Bay area of Brooklyn, the Shirley Chisholm State Park, named after the Brooklyn native and first African-American woman elected to Congress, will offer 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, with the new attraction replacing two giant landfill sites that previously occupied the space.

The state's Department of Parks and Recreation is behind the US$1.4bn (€1.2bn, £1bn) development, which sits on 3.5 miles of waterfront and has specific areas designated for both kayakers and beach-goers.

The plan is part of Vital Brooklyn – a model for community development and wellness, which targets eight integrated areas of investment: Open Space and Recreation; Healthy Food; Education; Economic Empowerment; Community-Based Violence Prevention; Community-Based Health Care; Affordable Housing; and Resiliency.

"Our state parks are community treasures, and this new park transforms what was once landfill into exquisite open space, waterfront access and outdoor recreation for Brooklyn," said Cuomo.

"Shirley Chisholm led the fight to improve the health and wellness of underserved communities that we carry on today with the Vital Brooklyn initiative, and we are proudly naming this park after her in admiration for the example of leadership and devotion she set for all of us."

The park's development dates back 16 years, when in 2002 state officials looked at alternative uses to the existing landfill sites. Since then, the New York Department of Environmental Protection created more than 1.2 million cubic yards of clean soil and planted 35,000 trees and shrubs, which resulted in the bloom of a diverse ecosystem of coastal meadows, wetlands, and woodlands.

After the park opens in Autumn 2019, public meetings will be held to discuss the second phase of the design, which could also feature an amphitheatre, an environmental education centre and a cable ferry.

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Brooklyn is set for the New York region’s largest state park – which will sit on a 407-acre piece of land in the Jamaica Bay area – when its first phase finishes in mid-2019.
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