Composters can remain at Queensbridge Park for now, city Parks Department says


Big Reuse, a nonprofit organization which operates a composting facility beneath the Queensboro Bridge just across Vernon Boulevard from the Queensbridge Houses, was granted a six-month extension on its lease with the city’s Parks Department. The city added it is committed to finding the operation a new home on a non-Parks site.

Big Reuse was supposed to leave its current location at the end of the year, but will be permitted to stay until June 2021 to allow the group to continue its work while the city’s Department of Sanitation works to secure a new site for them to operate.

Additionally, NYC Parks announced it will move forward with its long-planned $11 million capital project in Queensbridge Baby Park that will provide much-needed recreational space to residents of the Queensbridge Houses. That project, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will kick off next month with a community input meeting. The Queensbridge Baby Park restoration project requires Big Reuse to vacate the site that their composting operation currently occupies.

“As the caretaker of our city’s 30,000 acres of parks, of which 10,000 are natural areas, has long been a regular part of our sustainable management practices,” NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said. “In an effort to help Big Reuse continue their composting operations without interruption while they relocate, Parks will grant a six-month extension of their use of Queensbridge Park.”

The Department of Sanitation’s Acting Commissioner Edward Grayson was pleased with the extension as it meant that the site would not be shut down immediately. Plus, the extension will allow composting to continue at a time when DSNY was forced to suspend its curbside composting collections due to the COVID-19 budget cuts.

“Composting is a critical part of achieving our zero waste goals, and it helps build healthier communities,” Grayson said. “Despite our budget cuts, DSNY remains deeply committed to its expansion and the environmental justice it brings. Communities also need and deserve quality public space. I want to thank Parks for their partnership as we work to find a solution that balances all of the Queensbridge community’s needs.”

NYC Parks was set to begin redesign planning of Queensbridge Baby Park in spring 2020 but that was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The future park amenities will extend along Vernon Boulevard in space currently used for Parks operations, which will move under the Queensborough Bridge currently occupied by Big Reuse.