Construction of the Campbell Sports Center is on track to finish next month, but it’s unclear whether the adjacent Boathouse Marsh will be ready to open alongside the uptown sports complex.
The Boathouse Marsh—a 40,000-square-foot waterfront park—will be located at 218th Street in Inwood next to Columbia’s new athletic complex, which is set to open in time for Homecoming on Oct. 20. Construction of the marsh began in July and is expected to be “substantially complete in the fall of this year,” Executive Vice President of Facilities Joe Ienuso said in a statement, although he declined to state an exact date.
“Summer construction activities at Boathouse Marsh included site surveying, environmental protection, site clearing, earthwork, and installation of stone, fabric, and asphalt walkway,” Columbia spokesperson Dan Held said in a statement.
Last week, Glaeser Horticultural Consulting Inc. joined the team working to develop and build the marsh. Glaeser will inspect the state of an existing shrub on the site and will advise on any tree-related issues that might arise during construction.
The firm joins a project team headed by James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm that led the development of the High Line in Chelsea, and the construction group Skanska. James Corner is overseeing the design and horticultural selections for the project, spokesperson Justine Heilner said in an email.
Columbia announced plans to construct the Boathouse Marsh alongside its plans to build a new sports center next to Baker Field. City zoning laws required the University to allot 15 percent of its waterfront land for public access before embarking on the construction project, but administrators said that topography issues would prevent them from meeting the requirement. Instead, they agreed to restore the wetland area and provide a public park for local residents to enjoy the waterfront.
“Boathouse Marsh is intended to build on the natural history of the site and enrich the biodiversity of the Harlem River valley,” according to the Columbia facilities website. The plants proposed for the marsh are meant to provide habitat for wildlife, improve the aesthetic of the riverbank, and improve the quality of water in the river by filtering storm water.
In addition to building the park, Columbia will provide community access to 11,000 square feet of city-owned land adjacent to Baker Field. Columbia will also transfer ownership of a dock at Baker Field to the city and maintain the dock for community access to small non-motorized boats.
Site surveying and clearing and walkway installation will continue for the next few weeks.
Correction, Oct. 8: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the nature of the collaboration between Glaeser Horticultural Consulting Inc. and James Corner Field Operations. The article has been updated to reflect the timeline of the project and the areas in which the two companies will be working. Spectator regrets the errors.