print story print story |  email storylast updated: 7/14/2004

Design Finalists in High Line Project Chosen

For decades an elevated railroad has sat abandoned in the heart of the Meat Packing District. But now there is a higher vision evolving -- a grand park and promenade.

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The park would stretch more than about a mile from West 30th Street south to West 16th Street.

Kemberly Richardson has a first look at the new designs.

It's a peek into the future, an exclusive look at what a 1.5-mile long stretch of the city's West Side could one day look like. Imagine, taking a dip in a swimming pool with a transparent bottom, or reading video messages while strolling down 16th Street. These are elements in the final designs for the High Line Project, and one will be used to create a master plan.

Robert Hammond, "Friends of The High Line": We think this it can be one of the most interesting and innovative public spaces anywhere in the world.

Built in 1934, the now abandoned railway, running from 34th Street to Gansevoort Street, was once a bustling artery with trains carried meat and produce. But all activity stopped in 1980.

Now the wheels are in motion to redevelop the area as a public open space. Railroad giant CSX owns the elevated line, and the state, city and private owners control the land underneath. The completion of these concepts marks a significant step forward with this project.

Joshua David, "Friends of the High Line": We have a very significant funding commitment from the city, $15 million, that was committed last year. And now we have the design process moving forward in a very active way."

In the past decade there's been an explosion of new businesses here in the Meat Packing District. Hotels, shops, and many restaurants, who's owners welcome this project.

Doug Heller owns an art gallery on 14th Street, steps away from the rail.

Doug Heller, Business Owner: "This neighborhood is going through a renaissance for residents too. And it would give people another local park. You have the Hudson River Park, which has been immensely successful, and it would be a beautiful complement to that."

Supporters of the $65-million project hope to finalize the details and begin construction in 2006.

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