Parks & Rec Business: Parks Get Better with Age

A once-abandoned island in the harbor of New York City has become one of the city’s most intriguing tourist destinations with miles of paved pathways, baseball fields, natural space, and historic buildings

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Governors Island New York Slide Hill
One of the most notable features of the park at The Hills, four themed mounds on the southern portion of the island, including Slide Hill.

Governors Island has undergone significant transformations over its lifetime, from a fort during the American Revolution and a Civil War prison to a base for the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard before shutting its doors in 1996 and leaving the 172 acres abandoned.

“The island used to be closed off to the public,” said David Opferkuch, Project Manager with BrightView Landscape Development. “Military service members were the only people who could experience it, and then it was just empty when they left.”

Seven years later, the island was transferred to New York with a portion of the top becoming a National Park and the bottom being redeveloped as a public park. One of the most notable features of the park at The Hills, four themed mounds on the southern portion of the island with breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. BrightView left a major mark on the island, designing and installing Slide Hill, landscaping all four hills, installing the pathway on Discovery Hill, installing two baseball fields, and turned an old golf course into the Parade Grounds.

“We can sit here and watch [the plants and trees] grow over the years and become places where people can relax and enjoy the shade provided,” Opferkuch said. “Unlike buildings, which remain the same, a park like this gets better with age. It’s the best part of being in the landscaping industry.”

To read the full article, visit Parks & Rec Business.

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