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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
No. 35
www.nyc.gov/parks

NYC Parks Cuts The Ribbon On Completion Of Third Phase Of Restorations To Washington Square Park



Danny Avila/NYC Parks

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, City Council Members Margaret Chin and Corey Johnson, Community Board 2 Chair David Gruber, and children from P.S. 41, to cut the ribbon on the third phase of the renovations to Washington Square Park, celebrating the completion of the historic park's $30.6 million restoration.

"Washington Square Park is a historic park, a neighborhood public space, and a great forum for diversity and public expression," said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. "With the completion of its restoration, it looks better than ever. We look forward to working with the community to ensure that Washington Square Park remains an inviting oasis to New York City’s residents and visitors for present and future generations."

“Washington Square Park is one of New York’s best-known public spaces," said DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora. "The new comfort stations, play areas, dog run, and maintenance facilities will support all of the park’s many uses for generations to come. What’s more, these new, environmentally-friendly amenities for parkgoers are arriving just in time for summer. We look forward to continuing our work with the Parks Department to implement Mayor de Blasio’s vision to create more sustainable City buildings and bring our neighborhoods closer together."


“The completion of this major restoration of Washington Square Park is truly a great moment for this historic space, and a great accomplishment for our City Parks Department,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “These renovations will improve the park experience for residents, students and tourists alike, while maintaining the historic character of the Village. In addition, I’m so pleased that Commissioner Silver and the Parks Department chose to construct the new park house with a very environmentally conscious and sustainable design.”


“The third phase of the Washington Square Park renovation is an important one, providing additional passive lawn space, comfort stations, and a run for large dogs” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “As our city has changed, so too have the needs in our parks. People love their dogs, and now Washington Square Park has a place for dogs of any size. And people can use the new restrooms, too. Washington Square Park is one of our City’s most iconic and historic places for green respite, and this renovation maintains it as a place for the public.”

"It was a long, sometimes bumpy process in the beginning but look at the results," said Community Board 2 Chair David Gruber. "We got a world class, charming urban park that fits perfectly unto the Greenwich Village fabric. A park everyone could be proud of."

The goal of Washington Square Park’s renovation was to create a renewed sense of place, with a design by NYC Parks' Landscape Architect George Vellonakis that restored and upgraded the park’s significant features, while preserving its rich history of diversity. The first phase included a renovated and accessible plaza, the restored fountain, and expanded lawns and new planting beds that dramatically increased the park’s green space. The second phase included an enhanced playground, a stage, petanque courts, a small dog run, a new chess plaza, as well as sitting areas, landscaping, fencing, light poles and paths.


The recently completed third phase includes a parkhouse with restrooms for the public and space for NYC Parks' District 2 maintenance staff, a large lawn, a play area, and a dog run for large dogs. Funded with $8.2 million from the Office of the Mayor, the construction was overseen by the NYC Department of Design and Construction. The old asphalt mounds have been re-imagined, with mounded hills graded and slightly submerged into the landscape to allow for an open meadow. The new mounds are constructed with synthetic turf harmoniously blending into the new lawn and feature a cable play structure that is already wildly popular with children. The new dog run for larger dogs is equipped with a new drainage system, a water play feature, seating, and custom fencing for dog safety. Other features reflecting historic details of the park include new benches, lampposts, fencing, and asphalt block pathways with granite borders and curbs. New planting include shade trees, evergreens, flowering shrubs and perennials.

The new parkhouse, designed by the architecture firm BKSK, contains ADA- accessible public restrooms, headquarters for NYC Parks' District 2 maintenance staff, office space, storage and mechanical spaces and the pumps that operate the historic display fountain. Three previous buildings have been replaced by a single structure recalling earlier pavilions within the park. In time vine plantings will cover the reclaimed redwood trellis, further integrating the building into the park landscape. The new building, which is likely to achieve LEED Platinum certification sets a strong example by minimizing negative environmental impacts. It runs almost exclusively off of self-generated energy, due to several sustainable design choices such as the use of photovoltaic panels and ground-source heat pumps. In addition, the building's stone was locally sourced and the wood is reclaimed.


"The building has a small footprint, both architecturally and environmentally," shares BKSK's George Schieferdecker, Partner in Charge. "By making thoughtful choices in the building's programming, form, siting, material selection, and energy strategies, the team was able to deliver a project that holistically supports the vibrancy of Washington Square Park."

Additional work to restore the park's perimeter sidewalks, featuring hex pavers, tree pits and granite curbs, will begin this winter.

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