NEW YORK (AP) New York City will assume control over Governors Island from New York State under an agreement announced April 11 that laid out a preliminary master plan for developing the 172-acre former military base off the tip of Lower Manhattan.
“The agreement establishes new and pure lines of authority over Governors Island,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “It will in very short order result in the investment of more than $40 million in previously committed city funds for much needed infrastructure improvements and other work.”
The plan calls for a 2.2-mi. (3.5 km) promenade along the waterfront and 87 acres of open green space, with construction scheduled to begin in late 2012.
A body called the Governors Island Operating Entity will run all of the island except the 22-acre national monument that is operated by the National Park Service. Bloomberg will appoint nine of the new board’s 13 members.
“It also permits us, at long last, to release a master plan for developing nearly 90 acres of open green space on Governor’s Island and launch a process of turning that funding into a reality,” Bloomberg said.
Governors Island served as an Army base and then a Coast Guard base for nearly two centuries before it was turned over to New York state in 2003. Since then, city and state officials have been struggling to come up with a plan for developing it.
The island is accessible by ferry and is now open to the public for recreation during the summer and early fall.
There are art studios, walking tours and theatrical performances. A public high school will open there in September, and New York University plans to build a satellite campus.
When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last year that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four accused accomplices would be tried in federal court in Lower Manhattan, some community leaders proposed Governors Island as an alternative.
Bloomberg opposed the idea, and plans to try the Sept. 11 defendants in civilian court are now in limbo.
New York City already has committed $41.5 million to Governors Island in its capital budget.
The Governors Island announcement comes a month after Bloomberg’s administration moved to take over the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park project from the state.