On Wednesday, October 6, Friends of the High Line (FHL) and the City of New York held a press conference on the High Line featuring Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, and actor/FHL board member Edward Norton. Three major advances for the High Line project were announced:
- The City of New York has committed a total of $43.25 million in capital funds for the High Line's design and construction.
- The State of New York and CSX Transportation, the railroad that owns the High Line, have joined the City in a legal filing seeking permission to transform the High Line into public space through the federal rail-banking program. The City began the rail-banking process in December of 2002, when it petitioned the federal Surface Transportation Board to grant a Certificate of Interim Trail Use (CITU). The recent filing adds crucial State and railroad support. This means that all the most important players are now lined up in the effort to create a great, new public space on the High Line.
- The City and FHL have selected a design team led by landscape architecture firm Field Operations with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design the High Line's conversion to public open space.
The High Line project still faces hurdles. We need to raise private matching funds for the balance of design and construction costs; to secure a federal regulatory approval on the rail-banking petition; and to continue to raise funds for FHL (none of the City's new funding commitments can be used to support FHL programming or our staff's efforts to drive this project forward).
That said, just a few years ago it would have been hard to imagine such a great set of advances. Our deeply felt thanks go out to the City and State of New York, the railroad, our thousands of supporters, and all the elected officials who've helped us bring this dream so much closer to reality.
Read the October 6 Press Release Watch the Press Conference Video Read the October 7 USA Today Article