NEW YORK CITY-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have revealed the selection for the design firm who will revamp Governors Island. Landscape architecture firm West 8 was the team chosen against four other finalists, which were picked last January by the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. to design the Island’s future open space, including a new park and promenade.

The firm plan of three new open spaces on the Island: a two mile Great Promenade along the water’s edge; a new major park located on the southern half of the Island; and an improved park design within the northern Historic District was chosen. Together, the area comprises 90 acres of parkland that will provide unique outdoor recreational activities for New Yorkers, according to a prepared government statement.

The Great Promenade and 40-acre park will provide places to relax, play sports and explore, all with an incredible view of the Statue of Liberty. In the National Historic District, visitors can continue to enjoy acres of green space that include buildings and homes dating from 1810, the statement explains.

The Governor and Mayor also revealed the nomination of Avi Schick as the new chair for Gipec. Schick is currently the Downstate CEO and president of the Empire State Development Corp. and chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

The West 8 team’s competition entry highlighted the Island’s unique characteristics and harbor location, and incorporated environmental sustainability, the statement explains. It featured new hills created from recycled materials, and free bicycles for visitors. The team imagined visitors riding free bicycles at the water’s edge or climbing new hills to experience panoramic views of New York Harbor. Their ideas for the Historic District included restoring its landscapes and enlivening them with targeted improvements such as seating and new walkways which respect this island’s historic character.

“Governors Island provides us with a unique opportunity to develop extraordinary parkland that will benefit the City, its residents and visitors,” notes Gov. Spitzer in the statement. “The selection of the design team allows us to begin restoring this historic national treasure and add the Island to the extensive state and city park system. I congratulate the design team and look forward to working with the City of New York and our partners on the future plans for the park and promenade.”

Mayor Bloomberg adds that “New York is re-embracing the waterfront for the first time in more than a century. This park on Governors Island will be at the center of this new era of waterfront recreation for New York City, and will complement the City’s other great parks and recreation spaces. I am pleased that West 8′s first major commission in the US will be in the country’s greatest city–New York.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district includes Governors Island explains that “the design of a new park and promenade is an important step toward creating an extraordinary recreational resource on Governors Island for the people of lower Manhattan and all New Yorkers. This will help us realize our goal of creating more open space in an otherwise crowded city.”

Dan Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding and chairman of Gipec explains that West 8′s design approach and experience in “creating great civic spaces will help create a park for the 21st century. Their idea to recycle materials from demolished buildings is an innovative solution that will re-use building materials, keep tons of additional materials out of landfills, and create a sustainable park for New York.”

Carol Ash, New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner, who served as a member of the Park Design Competition Jury notes that all teams “provided fresh and inspiring visions for public park usage on Governor’s Island. The choice of West 8 will bring to this unique location a tremendous team that will transform the south end of the Island to a state of the art public space that will be enjoyed and treasured for generations.”

West 8 was one of 29 who initially responded to the Request for Qualifications last year. Other members of the team include Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Quennell Rothschild, and SMWM. Rogers Marvel’s projects include the Studio Museum in Harlem and streetscapes for the New York Stock Exchange. Moving forward, Gipec will work with the West 8 team, advocates, community leaders and groups, and the public, to design the new park and open spaces on the Island.

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