Borough President James S. Oddo, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and New York City Department of Sanitation, will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Fresh Kills landfill closure with a drive-through at the site on Monday, March 22 featuring local science teachers and invited guests. At the end of the drive-through, a memorial stone engraved by Staten Island MakerSpace, a local non-profit organization, will be placed at one of the highest points of the site to celebrate the milestone.
In addition, the Borough President’s Office together with the College of Staten Island and Freshkills Park Alliance will present a series of video discussions about the past, present and future of Freshkills Park during the week of March 22.
“The closing of the Freshkills Landfill has to be the greatest political victory in the history of this borough,” said Borough President Oddo. "To celebrate the landfill's closing 20 years ago, our office is proud to collaborate on this series of events to recognize this truly significant milestone. All Staten Islanders can thank the many efforts of our fellow city agencies, especially to Borough President Guy V. Moliniari. Because of his efforts, we can ensure that the former landfill can continue its transition into a beautiful park for all to enjoy."
A small group of science teachers from local schools will participate in the drive-through and join dignitaries at one of the highest points at Freshkills Park. The teachers will use their phones and laptops to conduct a live video chat with students back at their schools — speaking about the science of Freshkills as a “living classroom” on biology, ecology studies and environmental transformation.
“Twenty years after its closure, the site of the former Freshkills Landfill is serving the city of New York with renewed purpose. It is truly incredible to watch and take part in the transformation of this former landfill into a sustainable urban oasis,” said NYC Parks Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Thanks to the Department of Sanitation and our many partners across all levels of government, the Freshkills Park project demonstrates innovative strategies for land reclamation and 21st century design worldwide.”
"It’s been 20 years since Fresh Kills landfill closed, and we can’t forget the hard work that took place here, the impact it has had on Staten Island, and the advocacy it took to bring this park into being. I want to thank Borough President Oddo for honoring the work of the Department of Sanitation, and for bringing these educators and their students together to hear the story of Fresh Kills," said Edward Grayson, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation.
“The Freshkills Park Alliance is grateful to Borough President Oddo’s office for celebrating this important milestone for Staten Island. We not only mark the 20th Anniversary of the landfill closing, we also celebrate the incredible transformation of this 2,200 acre open green space. We are indebted to the Department of Sanitation whose stewardship has helped make this park possible and look forward to the continued partnership with Sanitation and Parks as the transformation moves forward. We will have more to celebrate in the upcoming months as Parks completes North Park Phase 1, the first project to be built on the former landfill. The Alliance welcomes everyone to the park through our programs and publications, and is dedicated to increasing public access as the park continues to grow.”
“As part of our strategic priority of Borough Stewardship, the College of Staten Island is honored to participate in the commemoration of this critical event in the history of Staten Island,” said CSI President William J. Fritz. “Importantly, we're equally pleased that our faculty are involved in ongoing research and instruction on Fresh Kills as it undergoes its transformation from a landfill to reclaimed wetlands, recreational facilities, and sustainable parkland.”
A schedule for the series of discussions is listed below. All videos will be streamed live on the Borough President’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/statenislandusa. The College of Staten Island will archive these discussions for future generations.
Monday, March 22 at 7 PM
The Closure: 20 years ago today
Borough President James Oddo hosts a conversation with former elected officials Susan Molinari, Eric Vitaliano, Fred Cerullo, and Vito Fossella on how the Fresh Kills closure was achieved.
Tuesday, March 23 at 7 PM
Deputy Borough President Ed Burke and Deputy Chief of Staff Jennifer Sammartino talk with Staten Island Advance Executive Editor Brian Laline, SI Chamber of Commerce's Linda Baran and City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver on the landfill's impact on the Island.
Wednesday, March 24 at 7 PM
Education at Freshkills
Dr. William Fritz, President, the College of Staten Island, talks with CSI's Dr. Faisa Peetz, Wagner College's Dr. Brett Palfreyman, DOE's Richard Tudda, and the Freshkills Park Alliance's Rachel Aronson about the education opportunities offered by Freshkills.
Thursday, March 25 at 1 PM
The Science of Freshkills
Deputy Borough President Ed Burke and Dr. Cait Field of the Freshkills Alliance host an informative discussion about the research currently being conducted at Freshkills with the College of Staten Island's Dr. Lisa Manne and Dr. Dick Veit and Steve Zahn of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. This session is ideal for learners of all ages.