City announces plans for the Gowanus Canal

Plans to capture rainwater will soon be carried out alongside the Gowanus Canal.

The plans for Sponge Park™ — whose purpose is to capture and store storm water before it actually reaches the canal — were announced on Wednesday, July 31 by Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland; City Councilmembers Brad Lander, Steve Levin and Sara Gonzalez; DLANDSTUDIO; the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

The park, encompassing 1,800 square feet, will be located on the west side of the canal where Second Street becomes a dead end. This project, costing $1.5 million, will be funded by the City Council; the idea was developed through DLANDSTUDIO and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

“I am excited about the plans for the Sponge Park™, a unique project that will make our neighborhood more beautiful and sustainable,” said Levin.

“Working in conjunction with our ongoing water quality initiatives, the park will help beautify the neighborhood and improve the cleanliness of the Gowanus Canal,” Strickland added.

“The Sponge Park™ will give the public access to the canal while reducing runoff,” Lander noted. “With other green infrastructure planned by DEP, and the canal cleanup that will come through Superfund, I am hopeful that the Gowanus will soon be a model for sustainable development.”

Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman said he welcomes the new project, remarking, “It combines the best of form and function in a transformative, replicable, and exciting design.  Hopefully, someday soon, all of our Gowanus street ends will have Sponge Parks.”

The park is expected to begin construction in 2014 and be completed with a 10-foot-wide walkway by the summer of 2015. DEP has implemented other clean water initiatives to improve the water flowing through the Gowanus Canal and has taken precautions to save the city in case of a storm.

For example, high level storm sewers have been installed in Park Slope, and curbside gardens are in the process of being installed to absorb storm water.

The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission have issued grants for the project and the idea of Sponge Park™ was recognized by the New York City Public Design Commission for new advanced design.

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