Debris-Filled "Hills" to Rise on Governors Island

City officials broke ground Thursday for a new park at the southern end of Governors Island that will use debris, dirt and remnants of an imploded building to create sloping landscapes and winding pathways.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "The Hills" public park, scheduled to open in 2015, will be reminiscent of pre-colonial Manhattan. 

Wendy Schmidt and her husband, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, donated $15 million to the park. She said the goal is to revitalize the waterfront while protecting the island from rising sea levels. In fact, she said the former military post is now key to the fight against the impact of climate change. 

"We think of this park as a beautiful fortification," she said. "A place that has protected New York harbor one way or another for centuries."

At 80 feet above sea level, the summit of the highest hill will give visitors a panoramic view of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan. 

A total of $36 million in private funds have been raised for the park, which is scheduled to open in 2015.

(Photo: A rendering of what the man-made hills on Governors Island will look like. Courtesy of the Mayor's Office)

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