Last Chance Pond Park: Dongan Hills, Staten Island

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on Thursday, February 7th, 2013 at 3:43pm.

With the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964, many residents of Brooklyn and other nearby places lcpp11_400began to move to Staten Island.  With the increase of Staten Island's population and housing, a decrease occurred in Staten Island's undeveloped areas and many of the natural habitats found in the borough began to disappear.  Many of Staten Island's current parks would today be plots of land taken up by houses and buildings if it were not for the residents of Staten Island who did not want to see the beautiful natural habitats destroyed.  If you look into the past of Staten Island's parks, you will hear many stories about how members of the communities worked together to preserve these places.  One such story is that of Last Chance Pond Park, which is a park located in the Mid-Island section of Staten Island, within the neighborhood of Dongan Hills.

Before becoming a park, the land that makes up Last Chance Pond Park was comprised of unused, marshy lots.  Some of these lots were owned by the City of New York, while others were owned by private landowners.  Around the end of the 1960s, once Staten Island's population began to shift, residents of the community that surround the current park wanted to preserve the natural habitat surrounded by housing.  Two of the residents, Louis Caravone and John P. Mouner, joined together in an effort to protect this area.  The two men founded the Last Chance Pond and Wilderness Foundation, which was named as such because it was their last chance to save the site.  This is where the park received its name from.Last Chance Pond

When the Last Chance Pond and Wilderness Foundation tried to protect this land, they went to the New York State Environmental Conservation Authority to apply for this land to be designated as a protected wetland area.  Since the City of New York had already owned some of these lots, they did not was to sell them and wanted to instead create a park out of them.  In the end, the New York State Nature and Historical Preserve Trust bought out the privately-owned parcels of land, as well, and all of the lots that make up the park were transferred over to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in 1999 by the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Since its acquisition, Last Chance Pond Park has been left as a natural habitat that is mostly a wetland area.  It is home to two saltwater marshes, a natural spring, and a freshwater pond.  These natural wetland features allow the park to be a part of the Staten Island Bluebelt a storm-water management system that uses the natural wetlands to help with water drainage.  Aside from the wetland areas, Last Chance Park, Dongan Hillsthere are some wooded areas within the park that have different types of plants and trees to find, as well as numerous animals that live in and visit the park.  All in all, Last Chance Pond Park is a nice place to go explore if you are a nature lover.

Last Chance Pond Park is made up of a little less than four acres of land.  The streets that surround this park are Zoe Street to the northwest, Naughton Avenue to the northeast, and Husson Street to the southeast.  The park's southwestern boundary would be the imaginary extension of Seaver Avenue.  This imaginary boundary separates the park from another parcel of undeveloped woodlands.  These woodlands, however, are not owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and are therefore not a park of Last Chance Pond Park.

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