Major Milestone for the High Line at the Rail Yards

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Major Milestone for the High Line at the Rail Yards

EnlargeJoel Sternfeld

Earlier today, we took a major step toward building the final section of the High Line.

The City of New York has launched the public review process for a zoning text amendment that will permanently secure the High Line at the rail yards, including the Spur, as public open space.

Follow us after the jump to read more about this important news for the High Line.

Called the High Line Text Amendment, the zoning text amendment sets a framework for funding from the Related Companies for the portion of the High Line on the Eastern Rail Yards, approximately 30% of the estimated total $90 million cost of building the High Line’s final section, and paves the way for construction to begin in 2012.

The crucial funds that would come as a result of the zoning text amendment, in tandem with recent major gifts to the Campaign for the High Line, give great momentum to our efforts to complete the High Line, ultimately allowing visitors to go all the way to West 34th Street. But we still have considerable funds to raise to make the completion of the High Line a reality. Friends of the High Line is currently in a $150 million Campaign, of which $85 million has been raised, with $65 million left to raise. Campaign funds will be directed to a number of different initiatives, including construction of the rail yards section and our endowment for the park's future maintenance and operations.

The High Line Text Amendment takes two critical steps toward making the High Line at the rail yards a reality.

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  • First, it secures the future of a portion of the High Line, called the Eastern Rail Yards, to be used as public open space. While the current zoning requires the High Line at the Western Rail Yards to be developed as public open space, the zoning for the High Line at the Eastern Rail Yards currently includes no such requirement. The successful completion of the public review process for the zoning text amendment would secure the entire historic High Line to be used as public open space, following acquisition of the site by the City of New York. View a map of the High Line at the Eastern and Western Rail Yards.
  • Second, it creates a framework for the funding approximately 30% of the total cost of construction of the High Line’s final section, and paves the way for work to begin on the Eastern Rail Yards in 2012. As part of the zoning revision, the developer of the Hudson Yards, the Related Companies, will be required to provide funding for the capital construction of the High Line at the Eastern Rail Yards, as well as funding in the future for annual park maintenance and operations.

The public review process, known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP, began when the NYC Department of City Planning referred the application earlier today for public review. The next step will be a public meeting, held by Manhattan Community Board 4 on Wednesday, February 8, in a joint session of the Chelsea Preservation and Planning Committee and the Clinton Hells Kitchen Land Use Committee.

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Since the very beginning, the community around the High Line has played a major role in planning, designing, and developing the High Line into the extraordinary public space it is today. The tradition continues today. The community came together in December for a community input meeting on the design of the High Line at the rail yards, and we received many thoughtful comments from the public. We extend our deepest thanks to the many members, supporters, neighbors, and friends who have come to countless community meetings, wrote letters, and voiced their support for the High Line.

We are now working with the City of New York to develop ideas and concepts with the High Line Design Team of James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf. Sign up for our email newsletter, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be the first to know the date, time, and location of our next community input meeting.

We would like to thank Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his administration, particularly Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel, City Planning Chair Amanda Burden, and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe; Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; Congressman Jerrold Nadler; New York State Senator Tom Duane; New York State Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried; the Metropolitan Transit Authority; Community Boards 2 and 4; and the Related Companies for their visionary commitment to the High Line. We would also like to thank CSX Transportation, Inc. for its commitment to donate the final section of the High Line to the City, and for its historic and ongoing support for the project.