Shirley Chisholm State Park

The transformation of two former city landfill sites into 407 acres of waterfront green space, opens East New York to the Jamaica Bay shoreline for the first time in decades.


  • New York, NY, USA


  • City of Virginia Beach

Project Status

  • Phase 1 complete, phase 2 ongoing

Due to active waste and pollutant dumping over nearly 30 years, the Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue landfills on the northern shore of New York City’s Jamaica Bay grew from ground-level landfills to unsightly ridges of over 50-feet in height, blocking views and access to the bay. By the late 1980’s, studies began to show the landfills were leaching high levels of toxins into Jamaica Bay and by the early 2000’s the landfills were capped and closed.


The major open space reclamation project involved the import and placement of more than 1.2 million cubic yards of clean soil at the capped landfill; planting of more than 35,000 trees, and plants and native grasses; and designing miles of biking and hiking trails, picnicking sites, and waterfront facilities.

WSP USA and Ecology & Environment (E&E) partnered on the project to provide comprehensive site investigation, environmental permitting and site design services. The work involved reviewing historical data, preparing New State Environmental Quality Review Act documents, and obtaining required environmental permits for the transformation of the landfills into public parks. The environmental investigation involved a comprehensive sampling, survey and monitoring program to evaluate potential environmental concerns, and field surveys to delineate wetlands and water resources within the project area.


WSP and E&E worked closely during the design of the park, which included protection of the landfill cap and operational systems to ensure the safety of park users; avoidance of any encroachment into any exiting wetland, waterbody, shoreline or beach; and mitigation of potential issues with management of the excavated soil during the upcoming construction.

Also key to the project’s success was our efficient coordination with a diverse group of regulatory agencies and key stakeholders, which enabled the team to develop plans that limited the permit requirements, allowing for the accelerated completion of this complex project.