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Greenway progress

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has officially recommended approval of plans to create a Putnam Greenway.

Mr. Diaz released his official endorsement of efforts to establish a park with two parts: one running generally alongside the Major Deegan Expressway, between West 230th Street and Van Cortlandt Park South; and an addition to Van Cortlandt Park, between the park’s southern end and the Bronx-Westchester County line.

“It moves the land use process forward,” said John DeSio, the borough president’s communications director.

“Approval of this application will establish as mapped parkland the existing bicycle and pedestrian path within Van Cortlandt Park and lay the groundwork for the development of the southern portion of the greenway from Van Cortlandt Park South to West 230th Street,” the Diaz document stated.

“Recognizing that the southern portion of the greenway has yet to be acquired and developed, I intend to work closely with the Parks Department to ensure completion of this project in the near term and to monitor the undeveloped site to avoid the attraction of litter and illegal dumping within the interim,” it said.

The Parks Department has already dedicated $2.3 million in the budget to develop the northern portion. But no funds have been dedicated for acquisition or development of the greenway’s southern portion, a less-than-a-mile stretch of abandoned rail right-of-way. That land is owned by CSX.

“That could hold things up,” acknowledged Mr. DeSio, who said netting control of the property was the only real sticking point.

Otherwise, he said, “I don’t think this is controversial at all.”

Other local representatives have weighed in favorably. Community Board 8 voted 33-2 to back park plans at an Oct. 12 meeting. Parks Department officials spoke positively at the borough president’s pubic hearing two days later.

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