Industry leading landscape and snow services company creates "The Hills" on Governors Island

The U.S. Coast Guard base on Governor's Island turned into the Hill's.
The old U.S. Coast Guard base on Governors Island have turned into "The Hills," a series of themed hills which rise 70 feet above sea level and was installed by BrightView.

New York City has a new park in town and its views and hundreds of thousands of visitors are giving Central Park a run for its money. Thanks to the hard work of BrightView’s Development team, Governors Island, which was once a U.S. Coast Guard base closed to the public, is now an award-winning park that offers rarely seen views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor.

“They are already calling Governors Island the new Central Park,” said Sean Brosnan, Senior Vice President at BrightView Development. “This park provides visitors with an experience unlike any other in the city.” 

After losing a bid for phase one of the project, BrightView was asked to manage the design and construction of two baseball fields on the island. Our teams exceeded the client’s expectations by achieving a cost savings and completing the fields ahead of schedule. As a result, BrightView was rewarded phase two of the project, which consisted of “The Hills,” a series of themed hills that rise 70 feet above sea level. The team was awarded a soil, procurement contract and a landscape installation contract.   

The Hills are constructed of a base consisting of recycled materials from buildings that once stood on the island combined with gravel and soil. A special pier had to be built to accept barges carrying more than 30,000 cubic yards of soil from Delaware. The hills are built with gentle slopes, a seven-story, 360-degree view of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, and a play area with a series of slides, including the longest in New York City.

“Projects in New York City present unique challenges and this one was no exception,” said Andy Dunne, Director of Preconstruction Services at BrightView Development. “However, this was a great opportunity for us to knock this project out of the park and show that we know what it takes to complete a job here.” 

In total, Phase Two required 42,963 shrubs and hundreds of trees, which brought the total amount planted on the island since 2012 to 2,960. The BrightView team selected 54 species of native or locally adapted plants for their salt tolerance, root structure, and ability to thrive on the island. 

The team completed the $12 million project nine months ahead of schedule and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held July 12. Governors Island already has played host to concerts, picnics, sporting events, play areas, an urban farm, and a public school. “The Hills” are attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists as the only place where you can see Lady Liberty’s face from land.

“It’s hard to put into words how much this project means for our team,” Dunne said. “We feel a great sense of pride when we stand there and see the New York skyline and know that we built this.” 

The owner of the Trust for Governors Island sent a note to the entire team thanking BrightView and indicating that this is the first time she has seen a team that she could immediately tell truly cared about what they were doing. The trust has already asked BrightView to be a part of developing their long-term maintenance plans. Based on our performance, we’ve been asked to help them improve on their current maintenance programs in order to maintain the island as a world-class park. To date, BrightView teams have already completed more than $100,000 in maintenance work orders.

Projects in New York City present unique challenges and this one was no exception. However, this was a great opportunity for us to knock this project out of the park and show that we know what it takes to complete a job here.
- Andy Dunne, BrightView Development Director of Preconstruction Services

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