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NEW YORK CITY-The first section of the High Line, a public park built on a long-disused elevated railroad line, opened Monday on Manhattan’s West Side in a ceremony officiated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. In a release, city parks commissioner Adrian Benepe says the $152.3-million project “demonstrates our commitment to finding innovative ways to continue adding open space to New York City.” A decade in the making, it’s said to be the first public park of its kind in the US.

The project’s second phase, which runs between 20th and 30th streets, is scheduled for completion next year. Public access will be limited during peak hours during the first summer of the first phase, which runs between Gansevoort and 20th streets.

Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corp., says in a statement that the project “takes a unique piece of New York’s 20th century industrial past and repurposes it for the 21st century. When we at EDC began work on the High Line more than three years ago, the Far West Side of Manhattan was still in the early stages of its renaissance. We are proud to see that, as this project opens to the public, the promise that it represented has already catalyzed a remarkable transformation of this great and storied neighborhood.”

Much of the park falls within the West Chelsea Special District, a zoning area created in June 2005. Since the rezoning, 1,374 new housing units and slightly less than 500,000 square feet of commercial office space have been completed or put into construction along the High Line. A total of 33 new housing, commercial, retail, nonprofit and gallery projects are completed, in construction or in the planning stage as a result of the new economic development opportunities provided by the park, according to a release.

The NYCEDC and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs are finalizing a land sale contract with the Whitney Museum of American Art for a museum that will be located at the southern terminus of the High Line. Project approvals are in place and design work is under way.

The total cost for sections one and two of the High Line is $152.3 million, including $86.2 million in design and construction costs of the section that opened Monday. Funding for the project includes $112.2 million from the city, $20.3 million from the federal government, and $400,000 from the state. Remaining funds will be raised privately by Friends of the High Line, a nonprofit organization, as part of its operating agreement with the city. To date, Friends of the High Line has raised $44 million in its capital campaign for the project.

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