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Columbus Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, June 10, 2003

DOWNTOWN PARKS RECEIVE $25 MILLION


On May 27, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) allocated $25 million for over a dozen high-impact projects to create new green spaces and improve parks throughout Lower Manhattan. Joined by Interim LMDC President Kevin Rampe, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Administration Patricia Harris and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, the Mayor announced the news at the Battery, a site whose plans for renovation are already underway. The Mayor also revealed Parks & Recreation’s preliminary renovation plans for the new and improved green spaces throughout downtown Manhattan.

"Great cities are defined as much by their parks and open spaces as they are by their architecture," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The plans proposed by the Department of Parks & Recreation create a beautiful and dynamic network of parks and open spaces that will become a worldwide destination and tangible symbol of the rebirth of the downtown area."

Working with various city agencies and LMDC staff, Parks & Recreation has formulated an aggressive timetable for creating parks and revitalizing existing open spaces throughout Lower Manhattan. Work will begin immediately on at least 13 sites, 8 of which will be substantially completed within 12 months; 4 others will be completed within 18 months; and the final project will be completed within 24 months. Sites include green spaces along the East River—Coenties Slip, Old Slip, and Wall Street Triangle; neighborhood parks—Al Smith Playground, Brooklyn Bridge/Drumgoole Plaza, Tribeca Park, Washington Market Park; and "gateway" parks—the Bosque at the Battery, Bowling Green Park, Columbus Park, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, the East River Park Ballfields, and Canal, Varick & Laight Streets.

The projects focus on reconstructing sitting areas, public plazas and playgrounds south of Canal Street. Through coordination with the Department of Transportation, the plan takes advantage of opportunities within the downtown street network to create new public spaces such as greenstreets and enhanced pedestrian corridors. Every site will also be rejuvenated with new horticultural elements as well as new benches, lighting and decorative paving. Two of the sites, Canal Street and Battery Park, may also include decorative fountains once design plans are finalized.

The project will also restore critical "gateway" parks up to Houston Street. These regional parks contain the athletic fields and wide-open green spaces that serve downtown residents and schools. At these locations, Parks & Recreation will rebuild and re-program existing athletic fields in order to maximize recreational opportunities. At Sara D. Roosevelt and Columbus Parks, asphalt will be replaced with the latest technology in synthetic turf, creating a vastly improved playing surface. At East River Park, four existing dirt ballfields at Houston Street will be reconstructed with either synthetic turf or natural grass.

"Lower Manhattan is where New York City was born but it historically did not share in the growth of the park system," said Commissioner Benepe. "Repairing and enhancing these open spaces, as well as creating new parks, is critical to the future of the downtown area. Our plans will infuse downtown with green space that will serve as an oasis for workers, tourists, and the growing residential community."

This project is being overseen by Deputy Commissioner Amy Freitag, Nancy Barthold, Joshua Laird, Mike Bolger, and Jesse Brackenbury.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"An artist is his own fault."

John O’Hara

(1905-1970)

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