Officials are taking major steps toward transforming what was once the largest solid waste management site in the world into what will be New York City's newest park.
The Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, which was integral to 9/11 victim identification for months after the Twin Towers fell, is being officially certified as closed on Tuesday as state and city officials finish an effort that has cost nearly $1 billion since 1986.
Fresh Kills became the place to sort and sift rubble from the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and helped provide some element of closure to families of the missing. The closure comes nearly 20 years after it received its final piece of ground zero debris.
It also comes just months before the opening of North Park on a portion of the site. That opening is just the first phase of what will become a 2,200-acre park, according to the city's Department of Sanitation.
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When completed, the park will be the second-largest in New York City, behind the 2,765-acre Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, which originally opened in the 1880s. It will be nearly four times larger than Central Park.