Should a unit of the national park system, once created, be redesigned? When the unit in question is Gateway National Recreation Area, the folks at the National Park Conservation Association think so. And they're asking for your input on how that makeover should be handled.
Gateway NRA, which encompasses more than 26,000 acres in the New York-New Jersey greater metropolitan area, is in somewhat of a shambles. The Park Service, short of cash to properly manage the NRA, has even turned to a private developer to preserve some historic buildings, which he plans to use for commercial purposes.
At the same time, various forms of pollution, urban pressures, underfunding and a lack of staff also are affecting Gateway.
Earlier this year, the NPCA partnered with the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Van Alen Institute to stage a competition to come up with a winning design that could be applied to Gateway. The campaign has led to six finalists whose visions range from focusing on Gateway's historic background and on featuring the ecotone that exists between the meeting of the surrounding urban jungle and nature to creating an educational and scientific research center the National Park Service could utilize in connection with its urban parks.
Now the three partners are seeking your input. At this site through September 15th you can learn the specifics of each finalists and vote for your favorite design. The winner will then be presented to the Park Service for its consideration in charting Gateway's future.