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Washington Square Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, June 19, 2014

Washington Square Park Restorations Completed


Photo by Daniel Avila

On June 10, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, 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 Commissioner Silver. "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."

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 park house 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 park house, 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.

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

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

Harold Wilson

(1916 - 1995)

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