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Hopes are Ever Higher: Friends of the High Line and NYC Issue Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for High Line Master Plan

by ArchNewsNow
March 1, 2004

Efforts to reclaim the High Line, the unused 1.5-mile-long elevated rail structure on Manhattan’s West side, have taken a major step towards becoming a reality. Friends of the High Line (FHL) and the City of New York have jointly begun the process to select a design team to create a master plan for the High Line’s conversion to public open space.


FHL, in conjunction with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, today issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for teams of architects, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers, horticulturists, and other professionals to be considered to design the High Line master plan.


Responses to the RFQ are due April 1, 2004. (Click on link above for a complete description of submission requirements and procedures.) By mid-April, five to seven teams will receive a Request for Proposals (RFP), and by July-August, a design team will be selected.


Entrants to the 2003 Designing the High Line ideas competition are encouraged to respond to the RFQ, and will be assessed according to same criteria as all other respondents. (Emerging professionals might need to partner with more established firms in order to meet selection criteria.) While it is hoped that the master plan will embody the creative innovation of the ideas competition, the final master plan must be buildable, maintainable, and economically rational.


FHL and the City of New York together will run the design process. An advisory committee representing community and public interests and elected officials will consult with the selected design team on a regular basis as the master plan is developed. Public engagement will be actively encouraged at open public planning sessions.


Project Issues

The conversion of the High Line to public open space must still pass several important milestones before construction can actually begin. The Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal body with jurisdiction over the Line’s future, must grant a Certificate of Interim Trail Use (CITU), permitting the railroad that currently owns the High Line to negotiate a trail use agreement with the City. In addition, endorsements from the State of New York are still sought for the project.


City, State, and Federal Funding for the High Line

The High Line project has received significant funding allocations from the City of New York, the State of New York, and the federal government.


·        In July 2003, New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced a $15.75 million capital funding commitment to the project.

·        In August 2003, New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried announced a $50,000 funding commitment to the project.

·        In January 2004, $500,000 in federal funds was committed to the project in the 2004 Transportation Appropriations Bill, thanks to a successful request by Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Representative Jerrold Nadler.


Additional public and private funds are being actively sought by FHL.


(click on pictures to enlarge)

(Courtesy Friends of the High Line)

© 2004