Above, at the construction site of the New N. Ferry St. Pump Station (March 28, 2021): [L] viewed from the west; [R] viewed from the east. Below, the last renderings shown the public of the Pump Station site, October 2017, with the front of the new Station far enough back from the River to allow a good view of the Old Pump House from the west and of the West Lawn from east of the Old Pump House; and with the century-old silver maple tree preserved:
The footprint being constructed now of the New Pump Station purports to be based on an engineering plat from May 2019, which was never presented to the public nor City Council at that time; it was “explained” at an online City Council committees meeting in June 2020, which was prompted when the Grand Old Tree was cutdown on Earth Day 2020 (see my summary and comments). Here is my comparison of the May 2019 and June 2017 plans:
City officials and their contractor never precisely said just how much farther north and west the footprint of the new pump station would be. In my opinion, the new location clearly violates the City Council’s June 2017 Special Clarifying Resolution calling for the preservation of as much of the Parkland as possible, and requiring Council permission for any intrusion the Park of more than 30 ft. from the old station fence..
When the City Council approved the construction of a new pump station at the N. Ferry/Riverside Park location in May of 2014, the Council and the public thought the new pump station would be situated completely on the lot of the Old Pump House, with no obstruction of current views of and from the West Lawn nor of the historically significant (and beloved) Old Pump House. Thus, we thought, views such as these would be maintained:
. . from the west (with the Old Pump House, Grand Old Tree, full West Lawn, expansive rear yards of Stockade homes):
. . from east of the Old Pump House (with the West Lawn in view):
It was a shock to learn, in April 2017, that responsible City officials and contractors instead were going to place a giant new pump station that would take over the West Lawn. After a loud battle, we were assured, by word and rendering, that very little of West Lawn would be appropriated, and that the new pump station would be set back farther from the River than the façade if the Old Pump House, preserving much of the view of that structure from the West. The rendering also seemed to indicate that the century-old grand tree near the northwest corner of the current lot would be preserved. Thus, this rendering, that last shown to the public and Council, was presented in June 2017:
. . [L] Last rendering shown public (in 2017) with front façade of New Pump Station set back, allowing significant view of Old Pump House from the west; [R] Construction site, March 28, 2021, front of New Pump Station placed closer to the River than Old Pump House, greatly blocking view.
. . [L] 2017 rendering with the attractive West Lawn visible from the end of North Ferry Street & the historic cannon (the East Lawn, too); [R] Construction site, March 28, 2021, showing the view of the West Lawn blocked by the New Pump Station.
All of the above led me to ask last May whether the Pump Station was simply another “rendering ruse.” It was surely a process lacking in transparency and good faith action, with both City Hall and our neighborhood “leaders” left looking like Snowmen at the Gates. We will soon see just how much of the West Lawn has been stolen by the new pump station