Google billionaire Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, donated $15 million to officially kick-start the capital campaign to raise private funds to build a new public park on Governors Island that's slated to open in 2015.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially broke ground on The Hills on Thursday and said a total of $36 million had been raised to build the park that will be made from recycled construction and fill materials.
The Trust for Governors Island, the nonprofit that runs the former military base now owned by the city, will need to raise a total of $70 million for The Hills. The park will rise from 25 feet to 80 feet above sea level and at its highest point will provide visitors with a 360-degree panorama of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and lower Manhattan's skyline.
In addition to the Schmidts' gift, donations have been pledged by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Carson Family Charitable Trust, Charina Endowment Fund, the Lauder Foundation, Joan H. Tisch and family and the Tiffany & Co. Foundation.
In a statement, Mr. Bloomberg called Governors Island "at the center of our administration's efforts to revitalize our waterfront and create new and innovative green spaces along the water's edge." He predicted that construction of The Hills "will create a landmark in New York Harbor that will be enjoyed for generations to come."
New parks: Worthy of Bloomberg philanthropy.
Existing parks: Worthy of private development.